Food Labeling Tricks

Did you resolve to eat a healthier diet this year? That means that you are going to choose better foods, right? Simply reading food labels might prompt you to buy some items that really aren’t good for you. It is important to understand the finer points of food labeling guidelines to avoid making poor choices. They can be tricky!

Robert Davis, PhD, a science journalist, has posted an intriguing list of the 10 most tricky food label claims on his blog. Here are seven of the trickiest.

  1. No Trans-fat: Because anything that contains less than 0.5 gram per serving, can be rounded down to zero. You could consume measureable amounts by consuming several servings of these foods in a day.
  2. Multigrain: Just because a food is made from several grains does not mean it is healthy. Make sure the first ingredient includes the word “whole”.
  3. All Natural: There is no strict definition of this term, and a food product could be highly refined and still make this claim.
  4. Organic: There is no conclusive evidence that foods with this label are better for you, and some can be just as high in salt, sugar or calories, and have no fiber–just like their so-called non-organic cousins.
  5. High in Fiber: Just because the manufacturer has added fiber doesn’t mean those fibers are proven to be as effective as naturally occuring fibers found in the vegetables and fruits.
  6. Contains Sea Salt: Gram for gram, table salt or sea salt contains the same amount of sodium, too much of which may lead to hypertension.
  7. Serving Sizes: Unrealistic serving sizes often lead us to consume much larger amounts. Read the labels carefully, then measure out what you normally eat. You may be surprised.

Foods such as tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, cabbage, lettuce, potatoes, apples, oranges, grapes, brown rice, beans, and lentils really don’t need food labels when purchased and consumed in their natural state. It is an abundance of these foods that contribute best to a wholesome diet and supports vibrant health. When consumed in season, they are usually the most economical choices we can make.

“Why do you spend your money on junk food, your hard-earned cash on cotton candy? Listen to me, listen well: Eat only the best, fill yourself with only the finest.” (Isaiah 55:2 The Message).

Wise words, indeed!