confusing healthy food labels
0 Liked

13 Terms Reveal Confusing {Healthy} Food Labels

Are you also confused when shopping what to buy when bombarded with all these buzz words?

You want to stay healthy and make sure you and your family eats well balanced diet.

But did you also noticed that not every food labeled healthy actually is what it says on the tin!

Scary right?

So I thought I bring some light into it and highlight some terms what to look out for.


Did you know that the International Food Council (IFIC) Foundation carries our a yearly

Food and Health Survey to evaluate our interest( as consumers) and how we understand food and its benefits.

To their surprise they found out some worrying results.

As in previous years, the Food and Health Survey has shown that Americans feel overwhelmed

by conflicting food and nutrition information,” said IFIC Foundation CEO Joseph Clayton.

“But this year, we’re finding troubling signs that the information glut is translating into faulty decisions

about our diets and health.

As policymakers work to revise the Nutrition Facts panel and define ‘healthy’ on food labels,

it’s more crucial than ever before that we empower consumers with accurate information based on the best available science,

in terms they can easily understand and put into action.”


What to eat and what to stay clear off especially when you are getting confusing and clashing information from different sources.

Food labels do vary and the truth is the advertisers are looking for canny ways to sell their products.

For instance sugar is camouflashed by alternative words such as:

fructose, sucrose, pure cane sugar, barley malt, dextrose, maltose and so on.

It gets complicated.

There was a course I once came across that taught you how to properly read labels.

Let me know if this would interest you and we organize a course again.


Since I learnt about food labeling I always encourage people to read properly

all the ingredients and nutrition facts on any food product before buying it.


Here is the 13 terms revealed:

All natural – 100% natural

Don’t be fooled, all natural doesn’t mean all that much. The Food and Drug Administration doesn’t define it,

although food makers won’t get in trouble as long as so-labeled food doesn’t contain added colors,

artificial flavors, or “synthetic substances.”

That means there’s room for interpretation.

So a food labeled natural may contain preservatives or be injected with sodium, in the case of raw chicken.

“Some natural products will have high fructose corn syrup and companies will argue that since it comes from corn, it’s healthy,”

says Stephan Gardner, director of litigation at the Center of Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).

“Well, that isn’t true.”|Don’t be tricked when you see on the label “All Natural or 100% natural”

It may not indicate 100% what it says.

The Food and Drug Administration doesn’t specify and the food manufactures don’t get into trouble

as long as the food label doesn’t include colour, artificial flavours, or “synthetic substances.”

Food labeled as natural could have preservatives or be even infused with salt – when it comes to poultry (chicken).

Some natural products may even have high fructose corn syrup and you can imagine that some manufactures will argue with you

that since it originally comes from corn it’s healthy. says Stephan Gardner,

director of litigation at the Center of Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).

“Well, that isn’t true.”



When buying bread, crakers and also biscuits, search for words whole grain or 100% whole wheat.

It’s insufficient if it claims multigrain or made with whole grain.

whole grains, (that include brown rice, popcorn as well as oatmeal),

have even more and various other nutrients compared to those that have actually been refined,

a procedure that removes the healthiest parts of the grain.

Don’t choose bread by colour alone either! Some darker breads, crakers or biscuits have sugar (caramel) coloring

are actually far from healthy when compared to very finely refined white breads.

Here is a checklist where you can learn more in details.


No added sugar

If you’re worried regarding calories as well as carbohydrates

(possibly since you have diabetes mellitus or are working on preventing it),

you could throw no added sugar items in your basket.

But check this: Foods such as fruit, milk, grains, as well as veggies normally have sugar.

Although these items could not have actually have added sugar they still might have natural sugars.

Some products still may ahve active ingredients like maltodextrin, a carbohydrate.

Carbohydrates– which could be simple sugars or even more complex starches–

increase blood glucose, and also no sugar included does not imply an item is calorie- or carbohydrate-free.


Sugar free

Sugar free does not imply an item has less calories compared to the regular variation; it could have a lot more.

(Although food manufacturers are meant to inform you if an item isn’t really low-cal).

Sugar-free items have much less compared to 0.5 grams of sugars per serving,

however they still consist of calories as well as carbs from various other resources.

These items usually have sugar alcohols, which are reduced in calories

(approximately 2 calories per gram, compared with 4 per gram for sugar),

however check the labels to see if the sugar-free variation is any better compared to the normal version.

(Common sugar alcohols are: mannitol, xylitol, or sorbitol).

Caution: Sugar alcohols could trigger rapid bowel movement so do not eat a lot in one go.


Free range

A food tag might claim totally free range chicken/hen,

do not presume your bird was scuttling around outdoors Farmer Bob’s barn.

The United States Department of Agriculture does specify the words free range,

there are no demands for the quantity, period, as well as high quality of outdoor access.

” Exactly what it’s meant to imply is that they are out running in an area,”

claims Bonnie Taub-Dix, nutrition specialist and also writer of Read It, Prior to You Consume It.

“However exactly what it truly suggests is they simply have exposure to the outdoors.”


Fat free

When the risks of saturated and also trans fat came to be clear,

the market was swamped with items that proclaimed their fat-free condition.

They often included virtually as numerous calories as full-fat variations.

“packages can claim it’s fat free, yet be filled with sugar,

and sugar-free products can be filled with fat.”

Read the label for calorie content, and compare with the full-fat version.



A food label could claim an item, such as olive oil, is light,

yet suppliers have actually been understood to utilize the term to describe the taste as opposed to the ingredients.

” The taste could be lighter, however you typically aren’t consuming less calories,”

claims Taub-Dix. “The phrase on light items could be very confusing for customers,

yet it is very important to check out the nutritional values.”

To think about a product to be called light, the fat content needs to be 50% much less

compared to the quantity in full fat product.


Gluten free

Gluten is a protein discovered in grains such as wheat or rye

and also it could a problem in these who have celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

Gluten-free items are easier to find on the shelves in supermarkets,

which is terrific for those with gluten intolerance.

For everybody else though, there’s no benefit to getting them.

Gluten-free grains might have much less fiber compared to the normal variation.

” Unless you have metabolic problems,

gluten-free items do not help you lose weight and also are not always good for you,”

claims Taub-Dix. “But because it’s a buzz word, it is put on packages.”


Made with real fruit

Products that declare to be made with real fruit may actually not have much of it at all,

or none of the kind pictured on package.

While firms need to detail the quantity of nutrients they consist of, such as fat and also cholesterol,

they do not need to reveal the percentage of ingredients, such as fruits as well as whole grain, according to CSPI.

In 2012, a California woman filed a class-action lawsuit over Fruit Roll-Ups,

which have “pears from concentrate” and no strawberries (when it comes to the strawberry taste).


Lightly sweetened

The FDA has definitions for terms like reduced sugar,

no added sugar, and also sugar free,

companies in order to sell are clever to use the advertising language in such way that some terms are simply made up.

Among those terms is lightly sweetened, which isn’t really specified by the FDA.

“Whether Kellogg’s Frosted Mini-Wheats Bite is “lightly sweetened”

need to be identified by the government guidelines, not the advertising execs of the food manufacturer,”

according to a CSPI record from 2010.


Cholesterol free

Cholesterol free does not indicate no cholesterol at all.

Cholesterol-free items must have much less compared to 2 mg per serving

while low-cholesterol items consist of 20 mg or much less per serving.

Foods that claim reduced or much less cholesterol have to have the very least 25% much less

compared to equivalent items.

Cholesterol is made by the liver, so just animal items like meat, milk, eggs, and also butter could have it.

If a plant-based item (such as corn oil) promotes its cholesterol-free condition,

there’s no advantage as compared to various other veggie oils, which do not contain it.

( The American Heart Organization advises individuals eat less than 300 mg of cholesterol daily.).



the word organic was once a bit like the term all natural– open to interpretation–

that’s no longer true.

If a product has a USDA label that says organic,

95% or more of the ingredients must have been grown or processed

without synthetic fertilizers or pesticides (among other standards).

A label that says made with organic ingredients must have a minimum of 70%

all ingredients that meet the standard.

Keep in mind that organic is not synonymous with healthy.

Organic food can still be packed in fat, calories, and sugar.

I’d still highly recommend to buy fruit and vegetables that are organic

to minimize the consumption of pesticides or herbicides.


Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids have been available in 3 kinds:

Eicosapentaenoic (EPA),

docosahexaenoic (DHA)

and also one called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA),

which does not have the tried and tested advantage for the heart as EPA and DHA.

Some foods are greater in ALA, such as flax seeds, compared to EPA or DHA.

Eggs might consist of omega-3 if poultries (chickens) are fed flax seed or fish oil,

yet are ruled out to have the health advantage for your heart due to their cholesterol and saturated fat content.

” If you are searching for a great helping of omega-3, eat fish as well as algae products,”

states Gardner.

“Manufactures will sprinkle flax on their food only to put the omega-3 label on the front.”


Portion size

Food suppliers could be canny with serving sizes.

The reason behind: it makes the item look reduced in fat or calories.

The information is based on smaller amount which can fool you.

And FDA recommendations on serving size, the Reference Amount Customarily Consumed (RACC) index,

is dated, based on eating habits in the past decades.

Here is an example: The RACC for ice cream is a half-cup, or one scoop– a great deal much less compared to what some people eat in one go.

A pint of ice cream could have four half-cup servings, shocking for those of us who could eat the whole thing in front of the TV.

If you are a two-or-more scoop individual, double, triple, or quadruple the label’s calorie as well as fat details as required.




I’m very pleased to assure you that all the nutritionals I recommend from Nikken always comply with the Food and Drug Administration rules and regulations on labelling and telling truth when advertising them.

As a consultant I’m always up to date on what exactly is in each product: meaning organic based nutrition with an emphasis on natural ingredients, mentioning their maximum antioxidant and nutrient values.


According to the IFIC, nearly all consumers look for health benefits and want to take advantage of what they eat and drink.

The top notch benefits what most people want are: more energy, weight loss, better heart health and digestive health.

It’s no coincidence that Nikken Wellness organic nutritional supplements deal with not some, but all, of those concerns and interests.


Did you find this post useful? If yes, I’d be grateful if you share it on Facebook and comment below.







Lucie Patel Varekova – Blog

Order online:

Skype: Lucie Patel Varekova

Email: [email protected]


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.