The manufacturers are trying to be less than honest with what they want us to know about their food. They are fighting with the FDA to avoid being transparent with the ingredients they are using in their food.
Claims on labels are coming under closer scrutiny than ever before. Some of these claims are “fat free”, “trans fat free” or “sugar free”.
We know about these claims as they are popular and we have seen them for years. Here are a few that are not so common that could be secretly harming your health.
1. Made with Whole Grain
This is a claim that we see, but it is so broad that we doubt you are truly getting whole grains. The “whole grain” part contains wheat germ and fiber, but these are usually removed during processing and what is left over is just bleached wheat flour.
Most whole grain products fail at this because they generally range between 5-10% whole grains. Usually they use the whole grain claim combined with heart healthy benefits. In order for you to get heart healthy benefits the product needs to be 20% whole grain.
The next time you see the “Made with Whole Grain” on a label flip the product over and look for the first ingredient. It should say whole grain. Then you can be assured that you are getting the benefits from whole grains.
2. Made with Real Fruit
When you see a product that on the label says made with real fruit you need to examine the label a little closer.
Not only do many of these products contain very little fruit they most likely are primarily fruit juice and also made with artificial fruit flavors.
They may also try and use fruit puree.
They use everything but 100% real fruit.
Make sure you look for 100% real fruit and also look for hidden added ingredients such as fruit juice, sugar and artificial fruit flavors.
3. Trans-Fat Free
Some products claim that they are trans-fat free, but you would think that this would mean that it would contain zero trans-fats.
Not so much. A product that contains 0.5 grams or less of trans-fats is considered to be trans-fat free.
Another loophole is where it claims to be trans-fat free, but contains high levels of saturated fats.
The thing is saturated fat comes in two different forms. There are natural and artificial saturated fats.
The natural forms are found in lean meats and some dairy products and can actually be healthy for you. The artificial saturated fats you need to watch out for and since they are consumed in a good majority of people’s diet they are also consuming high levels of trans fats.
4. No Added MSG
MSG is a food additive that makes food taste better and occurs naturally in some foods, but it may lead to many health risks that people don’t know about.
Foods labeled as “No Added MSG” or “No MSG” can labeled like this because the manufacturer did not add any “additional” MSG to the food.
They could have used another ingredient such as hydrolyzed protein which would contain higher levels of MSG.
The FDA is working on fixing the loopholes with deceptive flood label claims. Of course, manufacturers are fighting these because they would have to be fully transparent.
So, the next time you are shopping, stick to whole food options that hold more nutritional value and higher quality proteins. When you grab an apple you know it is an apple and not made with artificial fruit flavoring, fruit juice or something else.