Fitness. Fatloss. Results.

Food Labels- What are they really saying?

All of the labels listed below somehow translate to ‘healthy’ in the minds of the shopper.  None of these labels mean that the food is healthy.  Please remember that.  Truly healthy foods do not even have labels usually.  Think fruits, vegetables and meats.  Eggs of course have labels, but they are usually refering to the health of the chickens, not the eggs!  There are exceptions I know, like yoghurt, cottage cheese, tinned fruits etc, but remember that the claims below DO NOT MEAN THE FOOD IS HEALTHY  How many of these have you or do you fall for?
Cholesterol Free – Foods with this label can still be high in saturated fats, and it is saturated fats that increase the cholesterol levels in your blood rather than the cholesterol in foods.  Also this label is used a lot to trick you into thinking that a particular food or brand is healthy when often the food itself, no matter what the brand, wouldn’t contain it anyway.  Cholesterol is only found in animal products.
Lite or Light – this is very misleading and doesn’t really mean anything at all to do with your health.  It could simply refer (and usually does) to the colour of the food, the texture or the flavour.
Reduced Fat – just means it has less fat than the regular, does not mean it is healthy or even low in fat
Reduced Salt – as above, just means it has less than the regular.  This does not mean it is healthy.  Natural foods are low in salt all by themselves and do not need to make this claim.
94% Fat Free – this just means that the food is 6% fat.  This claim is commonly used on foods that do not fit into the ‘low fat’ category.  To be labelled as low fat, the food needs to less than 3% fat.  94% fat free is just trying to make the food sound healthy, but it doesn’t mean anything of the sort
Gluten Free – this is one of the most misleading labels of late.  Everyone automatically assumes that if something is gluten free it is good for you???  The only people that should be checking this label are celiacs, or people who are actually allergic to gluten.  If you follow the FitterFaster nutrition plan, this is not an issue- most of the recommended foods are naturally gluten free anyway.
Fat free – a lot of foods that make this claim are naturally fat free anyway-think tomato sauce.  Some brands label their foods to give them an edge over other brands, when really, they didn’t do anything different to the product.  And besides all that, we know that fat free doesn’t mean better-DONT WE!!
Wholemeal, wholegrain,multigrain etc – I hate this one.  These labels are used to make products like bread, pasta, wraps, biscuits, breakfast cereals, crispbreads etc seem healthy.  Now admittedly, if you are going to have these products anyway, they are better than the ‘white’ varieties, but whole grain does not equal healthy!!  I repeat whole meal,whole grain etc does not equal healthy.  Keep these foods to a minimum
Fortified with _________ – usually goes hand in hand with the above point, but is also used on foods like breakfast cereals, milks, yoghurts,  juices, etc to make the product seem healthy as well.  Having added vitamins, minerals or anything else does not automatically qualify the food as healthy.
Weight Watchers, Biggest Loser etc – foods labeled like this are often no different to the other brand products.  As a general rule, you probably shouldn’t be eating anything that has these labels anyway.  Foods like fruits and vegies cannot be branded like this and these are the foods we should be eating.  An exception is tinned fruit-but check the other brands, there is only one major difference and THAT IS USUALLY THE PRICE
timbefsidetimaftsidAll of the labels listed below somehow translate to ‘healthy’ in the minds of the shopper.  None of these labels actually say or mean that the food is healthy.  Please remember that.  Truly healthy foods do not even have labels usually.  Think fruits, vegetables and meats.  Eggs of course have labels, but they are usually refering to the health of the chickens, not the eggs!  There are exceptions I know, like yoghurt, cottage cheese, tinned fruits etc, but remember that the claims below DO NOT MEAN THE FOOD IS HEALTHY  How many of these have you or do you fall for?
Cholesterol Free – Foods with this label can still be high in saturated fats, and it is saturated fats that increase the cholesterol levels in your blood rather than the cholesterol in foods.   Also this label is used a lot to trick you into thinking that a particular food or brand is healthy when often the food itself, no matter what the brand, wouldn’t contain it anyway.  Cholesterol is only found in animal products. (There is lots of new research that shows that a  high intake of grains also increases your risk of heart disease.)
Lite or Light – this is very misleading and doesn’t really mean anything at all to do with your health.  It could simply refer (and usually does) to the colour of the food, the texture or the flavour.
Reduced Fat – just means it has less fat than the regular, does not mean it is healthy or even low in fat
Reduced Salt – as above, just means it has less than the regular.  This does not mean it is healthy.  Natural foods are low in salt all by themselves and do not need to make this claim.
94% Fat Free – this just means that the food is 6% fat.  This claim is commonly used on foods that do not fit into the ‘low fat’ category.  To be labelled as low fat, the food needs to less than a certain amount (varies from country to country) fat.  94% fat free is just trying to make the food sound healthy, but it doesn’t mean anything of the sort
Gluten Free – this is one of the most misleading labels of late.  Everyone automatically assumes that if something is gluten free it is good for you???  The only people that should be checking this label are celiacs, or people who are actually allergic to gluten.  If you follow the FitterFaster nutrition plan, this is not an issue- most of the recommended foods are naturally gluten free anyway.
No Added Sugar – this means that there has been no sugar added, just like it says.  It doesn’t say no sugar and even if it did say and mean that, it still wouldn’t automatically mean ‘this is healthy’  Its just another slogan to make you feel less guilty about buying it, because usually the product that claims this, is high in sugar all on its own.  No wonder they don’t need to add more sugar.
Fat free – a lot of foods that make this claim are naturally fat free anyway-think tomato sauce.  Some brands label their foods to give them an edge over other brands, when really, they didn’t do anything different to the product.  And besides all that, we know that fat free doesn’t mean better-DONT WE!!
Wholemeal, wholegrain,multigrain etc – I hate this one.  These labels are used to make products like bread, pasta, wraps, biscuits, breakfast cereals, crispbreads etc seem healthier.  Now admittedly, if you are going to have these products anyway, they are better than the ‘white’ varieties, but whole grain does not equal healthy!!  I repeat whole meal,whole grain etc does not equal healthy.  Keep these foods to a minimum
Fortified with _________ – usually goes hand in hand with the above point, but is also used on foods like breakfast cereals, milks, yoghurts,  juices, etc to make the product seem healthy as well.  Having added vitamins, minerals or anything else does not automatically qualify the food as healthy.
Weight Watchers, Biggest Loser etc – foods labeled like this are often no different to the other brand products.  As a general rule, you probably shouldn’t be eating anything that has these labels anyway.  Foods like fruits and vegies cannot be branded like this and these are the foods we should be eating.  An exception is tinned fruit-but check the other brands, there is only one major difference and THAT IS USUALLY THE PRICE
Contains real ___________ – I think most of us are onto this one.
So how many of these labels have you fallen for.  Don’t be embarrassed, the marketing gurus are doing their jobs well.  Just remember not to automatically assume that a food is healthy just  because it has any of the above written on the packet.
And always, try to choose foods that don’t even have a packet, box, bag or label anyway.  Choose real foods that have been grown, picked, dug up or killed.  Use processed foods as little as possible.
Jo
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s