An article from the Daily Green recently reported on some common marketing ploys used in food ingredient listings in order to boost sales. The misleading marketing claims were related to: fiber amount, omega 3 content, serving size portions, “food as medicine” claims, whole grain listing content, the ingredient list itself, hidden sugars, trans fat, “cage free” eggs, and “real fruit”.
Here’s why these claims aren’t necessarily the whole truth:
Fiber amount: Some fiber products taint their contents with unnatural fibers in order to boost the gram amount on the label. These additive fibers can be processed and contain chemicals such as MSG and aspartame. I have even seen the ingredient propylene glycol added to some “fiber blends.” This acts as an irritant to the intestine, leading the consumer to believe the fiber is “working”. However, it is the irritation from the chemical that is increasing bowel movements. Furthermore, these additives have been linked to health hazards.
Omega 3 content: I disagree with this article. You can search this site for my previous articles on cholesterol and fish oil to see how claims of heart health and omega 3s are warranted. Still, you want to get healthy fats from organic, high quality sources, not oxidized and rancid sources or unhealthy chickens.
Serving Size: Can be misleading as it includes content for only a portion of the product.
Food as Medicine: Nutrigenomics…I concur
Whole grain listings: A product can say “whole grain”, and only sprinkle in whole grains while filling the main content with white, bleached, processed flour.
The ingredient list: Manufacturers are not required to list ingredient sources. This means that various additives and preservatives can be made from an allergic sources such as corn and soy, but the label may not portray this. This can be confusing and hidden ingredients may cause issues with the consumer.
Trans fat: No trans fat doesn’t mean safe. New processing of fats can be just as toxic such as interesterfied fats
Cage free eggs: Unless they are organic, “cage free” , means the chickens might only have 5 minutes access to outdoors
Real fruit:….with lots of sugar and other additives
A further issue with food labeling is validity. According to an article in Dr. Mercola, a food label has a buffer of 20%. In other words, in order for a food label to be flagged by the FDA, it would have to be off 20%. This means a label with 400 calories could actually contain 480.
What is the solution? The best solution is to be aware. The USDA organic seal is your best option to look for, along with staying away from processed foods. A product is only 10% organic if it claims “100% organic” on the label. If it says “made with organic ingredients”, it is 70-95% organic, and can contain additives.
In summary, I would like to post an excerpt from an article by Dr. Jospeh Mercola, states the importance of healthy foods and being aware of your choices:
I’m sure you’ve heard that old saying, and it’s as true today as it ever was.
It all boils down to this: if you want to optimize your health, you must return to the basics of healthy food, ideally, chosen specifically for your nutritional type, because it’s all about eating the proper ratios of the right types of food for your personal biochemistry.
There is no way around this simple fact. It may not be as convenient as you would like. It may be more costly in the short term, both in dollars and cents and in the amount of time required to obtain and prepare healthy foods. But make no mistake — there are no short-cuts when it comes to this single most important thing you can do for your health.
In today’s world, the need for speed has taken over our lives. Fast and processed foods are what most working people and families seek out for the sake of convenience and speed.
Then when years of bad food choices take their toll on health, people want to feel better by tomorrow. They want to be at their ideal weight by next week. And as luck would have it, there is an endless supply of drugs and fake foods available promising to do just that.
Unfortunately, nearly all of these “magic pills” and diets can worsen your health even more in the long run.
Ultimately, the simplest and most effective way to achieve good health and a long life is to focus on the nutrition you are putting in your body on a daily basis.