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Are You Buying the Pictures on the Labels?

Are you buying into Meaningless but Pretty labels?

In a recent article by Associate Editor Morgan Bast for NFM, labels are not all that they are reported to be.   Foods are being labeled using pictures and with terms that sound healthy but in reality have no definitions or regulations determining what that term truly means.  The pictures and claims are often misleading, sounding healthy, when they have no basis in reality or definition with the Food and Drug Administration.

For example, “lightly sweetened” does not have a definition from the Food and Drug Administration.    The FDA has regulations for the use of “sugar free” and “no sugar added”.  However, there are no regulations governing the claims of “low sugar” or “lightly sweetened”.  What might be light to one person could be heavy for another.  My idea of sweet iced tea is a far cry from the overly sweet jugs of tea from the store!  No tea taste, might as well eat a spoonful of sugar followed by a swallow of water.

Be Healthy

Be Healthy

“Made with Real Fruit” is often not the case according to an article in the New York Times.  Many of the main ingredients of “’real fruit” packaged foods are often sugar, corn syrup and white grape juice concentrate.  So don’t be blinded by the pictures and claims of the front of the package.

Don’t be fooled by the pretty picture! One product that is targets pre-schoolers,  a “juice treat” has pretty pictures of pineapple, oranges, peaches, cherries and raspberries.   However, when you read the ingredients list, there is not any cherry, pineapple, or orange in the product.  The main ingredients of this “juice treat”, targeted to pre-schoolers, are corn syrup and sugar in the equivalent amount of 4 teaspoons of refined sugar per serving.  So you can imagine the extra energy that the kids have after enjoying their treat!

So with these few examples, you can see that a picture is not always representative of the ingredients in the box!  Read the ingredients list, don’t be seduced by the pretty labels!  Read!!! And educate yourself about what terms are regulated and which just sound good.  Education Is power.  Check out the Center for Science in the Public Interest for more information.  Stay Well!

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