Home Food & Cooking Little White Lies: Can You Always Trust Your Food Labels?
Matcha Source for matcha green tea powder

Little White Lies: Can You Always Trust Your Food Labels?

Zerxza.com may earn commission when you buy something through the links or banners on this page but we only feature brands or products we trust.

Readers' Picks

Low-Histamine Diet: How to Manage Histamine Intolerance with Your Diet | Healthy Eating Series

Histamine has a huge role in our bodies, being involved in our immune, but for about 1% of the population, histamine equals...

Cooking Oils and Cancer: What Cooking Oils to Avoid and Which Are Harmless

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cancer is the second most popular cause of death around the world, claiming over 8 million lives...

The Diet That Literally Makes You Happy: Serotonin Diet Fights Against Bad Mood | Healthy Eating Series

If you're living in a northern climate, it's no secret that the cold winter can seriously dampen your mood, even leading to...

Truth or Myth: Tortilla Chips are Healthier than Potato Chips?

Is there really much of a choice between these two popular snacks? Apart from the fact that one is grain-based and the other’s vegetable-based, they’re...

Is Spicy Food Related to Pancreatic Cancer?

In 2015 alone, over 55,000 American adults were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  And while slightly more men are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer,...

Vegetarian Sushi for Beginners

You’ve had your first taste of sushi, and now you want to learn how to make it at home! You might not be Jiro...

When you go grocery shopping, you select items wrapped up with food labels. And you probably don’t realize just how much these labels influence your decision-making promise. After all, food labels provide information on nutritional content, calorie count and other pieces of health information.

But can you trust them? If you think so, there are plenty of reasons why you shouldn’t. In fact here are 7 food label terms that aren’t reliable.

Nutrition (Know What You're Buying: How to Read Food Labels)
Amazon Kindle Edition; Shelton, C.D. (Author); English (Publication Language); 26 Pages - 11/12/2012 (Publication Date) - Choice PH (Publisher)
$2.99
Read It Before You Eat It: How to Decode Food Labels and Make the Healthiest Choice Every Time
Taub-Dix, Bonnie (Author); English (Publication Language); 272 Pages - 08/31/2010 (Publication Date) - Plume (Publisher)
$36.10

Trans fat

Trans fat is easily one of the worst fats for you. It causes inflammation throughout the body and makes way for a whole slew of diseases, including cardiovascular disease, cancer and more.

Subscribe & Save 20% On 20 Smoothies At SmoothieBox.com, no coupon needed!

And if you try to avoid it, you probably opt for foods that claim “0 grams trans fat.” But here’s why that claim is very misleading.

Even if the food label says “no trans fat” or “0 grams trans fat” that doesn’t mean there’s zero trans fat in that food. It just means that there is less than 0.5 grams of trans fat in each serving. And we all know that serving sizes are usually pretty small. So, we usually eat more than one serving at a time.

That means you can easily consume trans fats in one sitting.

So, how can you tell if the product has trans fat if the food label says it doesn’t? You want to go straight to the ingredient list and look for partially hydrogenated oils. These are the primary source of trans fats.

And if they’re in the ingredient list, put that product down! It actually does contain trans fat.

Natural

According to the co-director of the Food Allergy Research and Resource Program at Nebraska University, Steve Taylor, “There is no legal definition of ‘natural.’” So, you better believe companies take full advantage of this fact and abuse the term “natural” all the time.

There is no legal definition of ‘natural.

Take the food manufacturing company, Tyson, for example. They came out with “100% all natural batter dipped chicken tenders” which were far from natural.

This claim brought Tyson to court. That’s because their product included xanthan gum, a synthetic substance, along with other unnatural ingredients.

Moral of the story? Check the back of the food label and read through the ingredient list. That’s usually a little more honest than the front of the food label.

Light or Lite

If you’re trying to lose weight or restrict fat consumption, you probably prefer “light” or “lite” products, but this is another example of clever marketing and poor information. The FDA does monitor the use of these two terms based on the products fat content.

Therefore, a food can be low in fat, making it “light”. But it can also be high in sugar.

And the truth is, if the product is highly processed and loaded with sugar or artificial sweeteners, it might not be rich in fat, but it’s an unhealthy option, just the same.

Organic

The term organic is very attractive for conscientious consumers, but it doesn’t always guarantee an organic product. The USDA does have pretty strict requirements for the term “organic”, but there are also variations on a theme, too.

For example, food labels can only say “100 percent organicwhen all ingredients are certified organic and all processing aids are organic.

However, the term “organic” meets a different set of criteria and makes room for some non-organic ingredients, too.

If you see, “Made with organic” it merely means that 70 percent of the ingredients are certified organic. Therefore, whenever you see the word, “organic”, take a closer look to determine just how organic the product is.

Juice

It’s important to eat fresh fruits, and we assume that if a food label says “juice” on it, we must be getting a fresh fruit squeezed down into juice. And while that might be the case sometimes, it’s better not to rest your hat on this belief.

The truth is, juice can mean a lot of things.

It can refer to a juice blend. It can be something that was freeze-dried. It can be a drop of juice, diluted with flavor and water.

The best way to know? Read the ingredient list and see what’s inside. It’s probably not freshly squeezed oranges.

Health benefit claims

According to Marion Nestle, the author of Food Politics and the former chair of nutrition at New York University, food label health claims are “inherently misleading.” So, if you’re reaching for the cereal that “lowers cholesterol” or is “heart healthy”, you might want to reconsider. Here’s why.

Food label health claims are inherently misleading.

Certain foods do support specific areas of health. And there are so many reasons for this.

For one thing, they contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, compounds, macronutrients and more. And these have been shown to provide health benefits.

But here’s the catch: just because a product contains one of these foods, it doesn’t necessarily make that product is “heart healthy.”

That’s because along with those healthy ingredients, there are many other unhealthy ingredients, like sugar, artificial sweeteners, colors, additives and more. And all together, the product isn’t so healthy for your heart – or the rest of you.

While not technically a food, the Airborne herbal supplement used the words, “boost the immune system” on the label. This led to a 2008 lawsuit, which ended in a $23 million settlement to consumers who bought the product.

Why? Because there wasn’t enough evidence to prove that the ingredients in the supplement could actually boost immunity.

Nutrition (Know What You're Buying: How to Read Food Labels)
Amazon Kindle Edition; Shelton, C.D. (Author); English (Publication Language); 26 Pages - 11/12/2012 (Publication Date) - Choice PH (Publisher)
$2.99
Read It Before You Eat It: How to Decode Food Labels and Make the Healthiest Choice Every Time
Taub-Dix, Bonnie (Author); English (Publication Language); 272 Pages - 08/31/2010 (Publication Date) - Plume (Publisher)
$36.10

Alcohol content in wine

According to a study published in the Journal of Wine Economics, companies are guilty of false claims about the true alcohol content in their products.

Researchers examined close to 100,000 bottles of wine from around the world and found that in almost 60 percent of them, the alcohol content was actually 0.42 percent more than the label said.

If you can’t always trust food labels, what can you trust when it comes to product information? A good place to start is the ingredient list and calorie count. This can cue you in on what’s really in your food.

Latest at Zerxza

4 Fun Ways to Teach Your Kids About Germs

Teaching kids about disease prevention and hygiene is always important, but even more so during the pandemic. The concept...

How Women Can Help Their Partner Express Their Issues About ED

He's starting to have sex with you, he's aroused, he's ready... But he looks down and realizes he can't keep the erection...

Autumn Decor Magic: 12 Ideas to Transform Your Home for Fall

Though summer is undeniably great, there's some mysterious magic in fall. As soon as leaves start turning orange and the air gets...

7 Healthy Eating Principles to Adopt for Lasting Weight Loss

Sometimes, healthy eating seems more difficult than nuclear science. There's so much misleading and contradicting information out there. Even scientific studies and...

23 Signs Your Husband is Cheating on You

No woman wants to find out that her husband is cheating on her. It’s every woman’s worst nightmare. So, even if you suspect it,...

The Struggle of the Dating World: Many Go on a Date Just for a Free Meal

The dating world is tough, that's no secret. While many women might feel nervous about first dates, men might have even more reasons to...

How Soon Is Too Soon to Get Married? Is the Key to Long-Lasting Marriage the Length of Dating?

Many of us have dreamt of falling in love from the first sight, going on a couple of dates, realizing he's "the one" and...

Related Articles