Deceptive nutrition labeling makes me so frustrated because food marketers can get away with it! They will put in excessively large print that children's cereals are a good source of protein, so you will look over the fact that they contain SO MUCH sugar.
Here are some misleading claims to look out for the next time you go to the grocery store:
Trans Fat = Hydrogenated Oil
“If a product has less than .5g of trans fat, the FDA allows the food label to read ‘0 grams trans fats per serving.” (WellnessFX)
Talk about misleading! It is proven that trans fats causes heart disease. Instead of removing them from their products, food companies make the serving sizes small enough that they can put a big whopping ZERO on the food label.
If you see the words ‘hydrogenated’ or ‘partially hydrogenated’ oil on the ingredient label, that means trans fats!
ALSO: “To be labeled free of calories, a food should have fewer than 5 calories per RACC (reference amounts customarily consumed per eating occasion); to qualify as fat- or sugar-free, less than 0.5 g per RACC; and to be labeled sodium-free, fewer than 5 mg per RACC.” (Reader’s Digest)
Should I Buy the 'Fat-Free' Version?
Just because a label says ‘fat-free’ doesn’t mean it is good for weight loss. Fat actually isn’t the culprit; sugar is the one to avoid. Instead of choosing those options, go for foods like avocados or fish, which contain good fats and WAY lower amounts of sugar.
The Meaning of 'Multigrain' and 'Natural'
Multigrain means jack squat. The FDA hasn’t given this claim an official definition, so food marketers can put ‘multigrain’ on the label when the food actually contains just 1 grain of wheat flour. Now, what is that 1 grain going to do for you? :)
This is the same case for ‘natural’ claims. So, if ‘100% natural’ is on the food label, there is no science to back that up. The FDA also has no definition for the word ‘natural,’ so food marketers have free reign to use it with no punishment if they are lying.
Exaggerated Advertising is Legal
In advertising, puffery is a widely-used strategy that is totally legal. Companies can exaggerate just about anything if it technically can’t be proven. For example, if a cereal says, ‘Healthiest Cereal in the WORLD,’ don’t believe it. That statement can’t be proven, so it falls under the category of puffery.
They could technically be telling the truth, but how can anyone prove if 5 grams of Vitamin A is better than 4 grams of fiber? It’s like comparing apples and oranges to prove that statement.
There are plenty of tricks out there you should be aware of, so I want to encourage you to do your research. Before you go to the grocery store, study up on the tricky words, so you won’t be deceived!