What Nutrition Labels Don't Tell You

Nutrition labels tell you a great number of things about the foods you eat. Almost all nutrition labels list calorie, carbohydrate and fat content. They also list the vitamins and minerals in the food. By law, food manufacturers have to tell you these things.  However, there are some things nutrition labels don’t tell you about. These things are either in very small print or not there at all.

Fat Free and Cholesterol Free

Some companies make claims that entice you to try their product. You’ll see everything from no saturated fats to no carbohydrates on food labels. The nutrition labels back up these claims. If you read the ingredients, you may find other types of fats not listed on the label. Fat free and cholesterol free foods may contain some type of partially hydrogenated or hydrogenated oil. Hydrogenated oils of any type are a source of trans fat. According to the FDA, a company can put 0g of trans fat on the nutrition label if their food is less than .5g per serving. Trans fat is just as dangerous as saturated fat when it comes to your health. It raises your cholesterol levels and increases your chances of heart disease.

100% All Natural Ingredients

One of the most misleading things about nutrition labels are their claims of being 100 percent natural. One particular brand of yogurt has the “all natural” logo on its label. Although this yogurt does contain natural flavors and low fat milk, it also has modified corn starch and high fructose corn syrup. These ingredients are processed additives designed to enhance the flavor and stability of the product.

Some nutrition labels often mislead you by making statements that are not true. The best way to find out if a product is completely natural is to read the ingredients. All natural products do not have additives or preservatives. Products shouldn’t be modified or enhanced to change their color, taste or texture.

Sugar Free and Artificial Sweeteners

Sugar free products contain small amounts of artificial sweetener. Foods containing alcohols, such as sorbitol, have this type of artificial sugar in them. This information is found in the label’s ingredient section. There’s a problem with most of the artificial sweeteners you consume. Sorbitol and other alcohol-based sweeteners can cause vomiting and diarrhea if consumed in large quantities. Nutrition labels don’t tell you this. They simply state 0 for sugar content on the nutrition facts. One of the biggest alcohol-containing products is gum. Sugar-free gum has one or more of this type of sweetener. 

Made with…

Watch out for foods that have “Made with” or “Made with 100%” on the product labels. The nutrition label may not tell you exactly how much of the “good” ingredient is in the product. Fruit juices, spreads and jams are foods that usually have this type of slogan. Whole wheat products also state this. The product may actually have only a tiny amount of fruit or grains as an ingredient. The rest of the ingredients may include sugar, starches and hydrogenated oils. Also look at the nutrition facts carefully for high amounts of sugars and fats.


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