Fact: Marketing can be misleading. We all know checking food labels when buying groceries is important, but knowing what to look for can be trickier than it seems. If a label shouts that a product has whole grains or that it’s made with “real fruit,” it can be easy to justify spending a little more for nutrition’s sake. But don’t be fooled – the truth often lies in the list of ingredients.
Here are a few of the food label lies that The Daily Green says you should be on the lookout for:
- Whole Wheat: A bread label might read “made with the goodness of whole grains” or “Whole Wheat,” but you need to dig a little deeper to make sure you’re actually paying for the healthy option. Check the label to make sure that whole grains are the 1st ingredient in the bread. It’s one thing to have “some” whole grains in the bread (where unbleached wheat flour is probably the first ingredient) and quite another to actually get the 50% of whole grains that experts suggest you eat.
Omega-3: We all know that Omega-3 fatty acids are good for us, but that doesn’t mean that every food product that boasts that they contain these fatty acids are healthy.
The FDA allows certain foods that are rich in two of the Omega-3 fatty acids to advertise that they can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, but only if they’re also low in saturated fats or other risk factors.
Which is why many eggs and some walnuts use this bit of marketing misdirection: the packaging has the word “Omega-3,” but nothing specifically about heart health, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
So don’t buy a product just because it says it contains Omega-3. Take a deeper look at the packaging to figure out what else may be lurking in the product.
- 0 Trans Fat: We’ve been trained that trans fats are to be avoided, and even though this is wise advice to follow, marketers have caught on and have some sneaky techniques for tricking consumers. Some companies have reformulated their products to reduce the use of trans fats, but others just replaced these fats with saturated fats, with are bad for your heart. Even though they can pronounce that they have “0 trans fats!” they may not do your heart any favors.
So don’t be fooled by sneaky marketing gimmicks. Head over to 9 Food Label Lies for more tricks to watch out for.