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Nutrition Label Warnings!

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Food companies know that health sells their products.  Even in a highly-regulated business, many companies have managed to figure out a way around the industry standards to trick consumers into making decisions about their food choices based upon incomplete or misleading information on the labels.

Below, points out 7 tricky labels that might mislead you:

Nutrient Callouts

lucky charms labelThe food industry has created the banner call-outs on the front of their products.  For example, sugar-laden breakfast cereals that boost high calcium and vitamin levels, even though sugar is one of the main ingredients.

Fine Print

Often ingredient lists on food labels are intentionally unclear – printed in small condensed type or printed against poorly-contrasting backgrounds to make them more difficult to decipher.

Misleading Healthy Claims

Like the banner call-outs, labels often include claims like  “Helps Support Immunity!”, “Helps protect healthy joints!” that describe how a food component may affect the structure or function of the body.  This claims can be vague or misleading. A 2010 study in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior found that nutrition marketing, such as health claims on the front of a box, is commonly used on products high in saturated fat, sodium and/or sugar, and more often in kids’ products. Stick to the Nutrition Facts Panel to determine how healthy a food is.

High-Fiber Fibs

Not all fibers are created equal!  A product may be labeled “high fiber” because it contains isolated fibers in the form of purified powders such as maltodextrin, oat fiber, wheat fiber and oat hull fiber.  These fibers do not have the same health benefits as intact whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

Whole Grains or 1/2 Grains?

Read the nutrition label and look for the word “whole” (whole wheat, whole grain, whole + name of grain) listed first in the ingredient list. Look for at least 1 g fiber for every 10 g total carbohydrates.

Don’t Judge a Product by Its Name

Did  you know that FDA labeling regulations do not cover product names?  This has prompted food companies to create healthy-sounding names for unhealthy foods and beverages.  Don’t be fooled by the name – read the nutrition label!

Unrealistic Serving Sizes

Tiny serving sizes make unhealthy substances (fat, sugar) look less bad. Be sure to check for serving sizes before you believe the  “Calories Per Serving” claims on the label.

Information for this article taken from


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