We’re constantly bombarded with messages from the media and marketing telling us what to buy and eat. It’s hard to know what to believe and what to ignore.
The junk food industry is especially good at hiding the truth and making its products look healthier than they are.
Lie #1 – “Fruit-Flavored”
Many “fruit-flavored” products don’t contain any natural fruit at all. Just because a product has the word “fruit” in its name or on its label doesn’t mean it’s healthy or that there is any fruit in it.
Many “fruit-flavored” foods are loaded with sugar, artificial flavors, and other unhealthy ingredients.
Lie #2 – “Natural”
The word “natural” is often used to make products seem healthier. But the FDA doesn’t regulate the term “natural” on food labels, so it can be used pretty much any way a company wants.
And “natural” doesn’t necessarily mean healthy. Just because a food is “natural” doesn’t mean it’s good for you.
Lie #3 – “Low-Fat” or “Fat-Free”
When a product is advertised as “low-fat” or “fat-free,” it can make you think it’s healthier than it is. But often, when the fat is removed, other unhealthy ingredients are added to make up for the lost flavor.
And, as it turns out, fat isn’t always the enemy. Some types of fat are good for you and can help improve your health.
Lie #4 – “Calories Per Serving”
If you glance at the nutrition information on a food label, it’s easy to be fooled into thinking a product is less calorie-dense than it is.
The food label lists the “calories per serving,” but a serving size is often much smaller than what people eat. A serving might be considered “half a candy bar” or “a third of a soda can,” – but rarely does anyone consume the labeled serving size.
And in many cases, the listed calorie content is not even accurate.
Lie #5 – So Many Names For Sugar
Sugar hides under many different names on food labels. So, even if you’re trying to avoid it, you might not even realize it’s there.
Some of the many names for sugar include:
- high fructose corn syrup
- fruit juice concentrate
And the list goes on and on. Often, multiple forms of sugar are added to a single product.
Lie #6 – Health Claims
The FDA regulates what health claims can be made on food labels. But, sometimes, companies push the boundaries and use weasel words to make their products sound healthier than they are.
For example, a cereal might be advertised as “good for your heart” because it contains whole grains. But, the rest of the ingredients in the cereal might not be so good.
So, next time you’re grocery shopping, don’t be fooled by these common food labels lies. Take the time to read the ingredient list and nutrition information carefully. And, remember, just because a product is advertised in a healthy-sounding way doesn’t mean it is.