Most of us rely on what we see on the label when shopping for items at the supermarket. What most of us doesn’t know is labels on processed foods are not there to educate us but to entice us into buying them. “The health claims on packaging are there because they sell products,” says Laurie David, executive producer of Fed Up, a new documentary film that investigates the factors and consequences of obesity in children. “Even people who know a lot about food don’t necessarily know,” David says.
Claim: “Made With Whole Grain”
Truth: The small amount of whole grains doesn’t cancel out everything else.
Claim: Great Source of [Important Nutrient]!
Truth: The nutrient is actually highly processed and, therefore, not that beneficial to your health.
Claim: “Natural,” “All Natural,” and “Made With Natural Flavors”
Truth: The word “natural” is meaningless when it comes to food labels.
Claim: Great source of protein!
Truth: The protein is highly processed and served with too much sugar.
Claim: “Made With Real Fruit”
Truth: Usually the “real fruit” is actually a highly processed fruit puree or fruit juice, which just concentrates their sugar.
Claim: “Sugar Free”
Truth: Filled with artificial sweeteners instead.
Claim: “Low Fat” or “Reduced Fat”
Truth: Probably high in sugar and/or other processed substances.
Claim: “Fat Free”
Truth: Probably filled with sugar and/or artificial junk.
Claim: “0g Trans Fat”
Truth: Up to 1/2g of trans fat per serving.
Claim: “No Cholesterol”
Truth: There probably wasn’t going to be any cholesterol in this anyway.
Claim: “Gluten Free”
Truth: Unless you have celiac disease, gluten-free isn’t necessarily healthier.
Claim: Rich in Omega-3s
Truth: Those Omega-3s may come from added fish gelatin and don’t make the product any healthier.