Nutrient Content: 5 Common Food Label Deceptions

You may think the nutrient content of your favorite foods is as clear and accurate as printed on the box that it comes in, but in reality there are several common food label deceptions that can lead you to misunderstand the truth of what is in your food. Carefully examining the labels is not enough to give you all the facts. There are many things that you may miss is you don’t know these 5 common food label deceptions:

1. Distributing the Sugars Among Many Ingredients

Many manufacturers use a combination of multiple sugar products such as sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup solids, brown sugar, dextrose and other sugars to split the sugars up in a way that none of them attain a top three spot on the ingredients list. By doing this, manufacturers trick the consumer into thinking that the product is not made mostly of sugar, while indeed most of the ingredients are just different forms of sugar.

2. Padding the List of Ingredients with Minuscule Amounts of Great Ingredients

This is common in personal care products and foods. Manufacturers use herbs, special berries or superfoods such as spirulina at such low amounts that there is no real effect to your health. This is commonly used by food manufacturers that want to get in on the health food movement without actually producing any health foods.

3. Hiding Dangerous Ingredients

Many food manufacturers change the names of ingredients so that they don’t raise alarm with consumers. A good example of this is “yeast extract” which sounds safe enough. However, this is just used to high mono-sodium glutamate or MSG, a dangerous food additive. Also, things like “sodium nitrate” can sound innocent, but further research on what that actually is shows that it is a carcinogenic ingredient know to cause several kinds of cancer.

4. Deceptive Food Names

There is no law that states the name of the food must match the actual product. For example, many companies make products like Guacamole Dip that includes no avocados. Instead, they use partially hydrogenated soybean oil and green food coloring. People continue to buy these products, however, without checking the labels. You can buy “fruit” products with no fruit, “cheese” crackers with no cheese and the list goes on. Check the ingredients closely to ensure that the desired product you want is actually what you are getting.

5. Manipulation of serving sizes

Many companies use a loophole in the FDA rules that states that any food containing less than .5 grams of trans fatty acids per serving can be labeled as containing zero trans fats. In turn, many companies reduced their serving sizes to bring the trans fat levels down to .5 grams so that they could tout their zero trans fat label. The serving sizes are often unrealistic and more often the products are actually loaded with trans fats.

Be sure to thoroughly check food labels and be cognizant of what you are searching for before buying packaged and processed foods. There are many deceptive companies out there that use crafty marketing to sell their products; don’t fall prey to their tactics.


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