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> Don't believe all the words you read on a label!

Don't believe all the words you read on a label!

Posted on 10/27/2015 by Kulae

Ever pick up a box of cookies at the store and read "All Natural" and think: "oh, this is a healthy cookie"?

You are not alone!  There are several phrases that food manufacturers use to market their products but the Food and Drug Administration has not created strict definitions for these phrases.  

Below are some of the most common ones seen.


Most people believe this to mean food that has not been processed and is free of preservatives and is non-GMO.  This phrase just means that there isn't any added colors, flavors or chemical substances.  This is very vague.  Food can have a lot of added sodium and preservatives and still fall in to this category.  It can also have high-fructose corn syrup and be argued that because it comes from corn it is natural.  Also, just because it says "All-Natural" doesn't necessarily mean its good for you either, it could have a lot of extra calories.


In the Shape Up program I recommend a diet consisting of whole foods.  When it comes to grains, breads and cereals you should look for ones that are wholegrain.  But what about multigrain? That sounds good too, right?  Multigrain just simply means that more than one type of grain was used to make the product, but doesn't necessarily mean that any of them are a whole grain.  

The difference is this:  wholegrain is the use of the entire grain (the bran, the germ and the endosperm which is where the nutrients are) and non-wholegrain is a grain that has been processed or refined (stripped of the bran, germ and endosperm) and may even have substances added to make it look more appealing.

"No Sugar Added" 

Just because a product say "No Sugar Added" doesn't mean there isn't any sugar in it at all.  Food items like milk, cereal, fruit and even vegetables have naturally occuring sugars.  Of course this is better than products with added sugar but don't be mislead thinking its a lower calorie/carbohydrate food item.  


There was a time that this label didn't really mean that much but the FDA has cracked down a bit and made a clearer defintion.  In order for a product to bear the label "Organic" 95% of the all ingredients it contanins must be without synthetic fertalizers or pesticides.  When a product says "Made with Organic Ingredients" 70% of all the ingredients must be without synthetic fertalizers or pesticides.  

"Cage-free or Free-range" 

These terms refer to how an animal was kept prior to being slaughter (or while they were producing eggs when referring to chickens).  Cage-free- The animals were not kept in cages and allowed to roam around in a barn to stretch their little legs.  Free-range- These animals were also not kept in cages and given the additional freedom to go outside.  But neither of these terms actually speak to the treatment of the animals so it can be misleading.

My advice to my Shape Up members is always to choose whole foods that are unprocessed.  I understand that in the fast paced lives that we all lead that this is sometimes not that easy.  Just be sure you are reading the labels and not getting mislead by some of these phrases.  


For more about Meredith's Shape Up program, you can check her out her website!

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