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What Is That and Why Is It in My Food: Part 3

We have made it to segment three in our blog series and it’s a great topic that I’m excited to cover and hopefully provide education on! If you’ve been reading our current posts then you can see that we’ve covered ingredients, daily percent values, and lastly, we will be covering the less obvious things, particularly the front of a label claims.

Dr. Randy Shopping Cart Blues

Anyway You Slice it and Dice it

It has become almost “normal” for our food industry to just put stuff in our food – healthy or not – for the sake of “quality” or “preserving” it’s appearance. Many of those claims are a bit sticky in my opinion, but it’s important to know that because food labels seemingly have a lot of freedom, despite being somewhat regulated, it really boils down to marketing. Ridiculous, right?

You read that right, much of what appears on our food labels are geared towards getting you to buy that product. Here are a few examples of what I’m talking about.

  • “Made with Real Fruit”  – Wildly enough, most of the time there isn’t any fruit in that product at all! Crazy right? The industry tends to fake people out – especially in baby and toddler foods – if the ingredients include corn syrup and juice concentrate, there is no real in it.
  • “All Natural” – It’s hard to believe that there is no actual set rule(s) or regulation guidelines for this claim! Be diligent and read your ingredients, using the help of our previous blog to help you decipher them!
  • “Made with Whole Grains” – Like we discussed, here , this claim doesn’t necessarily constitute it as a legitimate “healthy” food. The best way to know for sure is by reading the ingredient list. Should the first few ingredients include sugar or refined flours then it is obviously not a whole grain food.
  •  “Lightly Sweetened” or “Low Sugar” Here again, there are no regulations on this claim either. Crazy, we know.
  • “Strengthen Immunity” – The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does regulate such claims, it’s quite easy for the food industry to skirt those regulations. Clever wording and verbiage trickery and voilà!

Be Aware!

Something to keep in mind is that “less” or “more” of something simply means that the food is being compared to its competitor product. And most likely not by any health standard.

Another piece of knowledge is the term and use of the word “free”. Free doesn’t necessarily mean “zero”.

Here is a basic guide that you may find helpful to determine the use of food industry verbiage!

Dr. Randy Pagenkopf Food Label Series 3

That’s a Wrap!

Well, there you have it! There really isn’t an easy way to grocery shop once you break it down; but, the importance behind knowing exactly what you and your family will be eating is worth its weight in peace of mind alone! Ideally, it would be great if the food industry stopped making “loop-holes” and easy ways to cheat us out of truly healthy food, but we’ll probably all starve before that happens!

Happy shopping!

~Cullan Pagenkopf

The Busy Mom