Be a label detective

Food labels use package design and words to do one thing – entice us to purchase their products. Beware of words on the front of the package – such as fresh, all-natural, healthy, pure and premium. These are not a reliable source of the product’s nutrient value.  These alluring words are often misleading. Here are some popular buzz words decoded:

  • Natural. The food product may still contain pesticides, genetically modified ingredients, high-fructose corn syrup, and be heavily processed.
  • Healthy. While the food must meet specific guidelines for fat, cholesterol, sodium, and certain nutrients, it can still contain large amounts of sugar, preservatives, and artificial ingredients.
  • Lightly Sweetened. This term is not regulated by the FDA, so the product could contain any amount of sugar.
  • Made with Whole Grains. Be sure “whole-wheat flour” is among the first three or four ingredients listed on the package.

Also, be skeptical of words that promise to boost brain power, prevent heart disease, and relieve any sundry of afflictions. Then, remind yourself that packaged foods should enhance our whole food choices, such as fruits and vegetables.