**This post has been entered in Real Food Wednesdays at Kelly the Kitchen Kop!**
These days, it’s hard to sort through health claims on packages. There are so many of them out there. Many of them are emblazoned on packages in bright colors and big letters, proclaiming some excellent benefit to that particular food.
However, many of them are simply false.
That’s right: claims that companies think are so important that they have to draw your attention to it are not actually as awesome as they say they are. Some of them are downright wrong. And it’s not just on processed foods, either. There are claims made on whole, real foods that are wrong too.
This makes it extremely difficult for consumers to actually buy the best food. They see the claims and become confused about what is really a benefit and what is not. They don’t know whether to buy this brand, which makes some seemingly awesome claim, or that brand, which doesn’t make the claim. How does one sort through these things? How does one know the truth?
Here are some examples of claims:
“Fat free!” – Clearly bad, as we’ve talked plenty about how fat is good for you.
“Low fat!” or “Naturally low in fat!” — While the second one isn’t *as* bad, it’s still not something I’d consider a true benefit.
“All natural!” — I wrote about natural labeling before. This really means nothing. It can mean “made with highly refined, originally somewhat natural ingredients.”
“Hens were vegetarian fed!” — HUGE pet peeve. This is NOT a good thing. Hens should be eating bugs and worms in addition to their grain. Being completely vegetarian-fed means that they probably didn’t get access to the outdoors as they should have to eat the bugs and worms. Companies use this because some large-scale farms actually feed deceased chicken parts and other junk to their chickens, which clearly isn’t good. This is why you need to know your source! No chicken parts but yes bugs and worms!
“Isoflavones in every serving!” — Amount varies by claim, seen in advertising soy products. Isoflavones are the chemicals you are trying to avoid when you do not eat soy. They are the chemicals that are responsible for mimicking estrogen in your body and you do NOT want to consume them. Bragging that your product contains them is not a good thing.
“Made with real fruit!” — This means nothing. The fruit was probably pressed for juice and then processed. Plus it’s probably also full of sugar, HFCS, and who knows what else. That tiny amount of “real fruit” doesn’t do anything to improve the health of the product.
“No artificial colors or flavors!” — Read the label. There probably isn’t anything there that specifically says “artificial colors or flavors” but there may be “natural flavors” listed. “Natural flavors” are simply lab-made chemical flavors that are intended to mimic flavors found in nature. “Artificial flavors” are completely made up chemical compounds that have no natural equivalent. The bottom line is, there are still chemicals in your food.
“Grass-fed meat!” — Which is a good thing, generally, but was the meat exclusively grass-fed? Was it finished on grass, or was it given grains at the end to fatten it up (even a small amount of grains, especially given so close to slaughter, can change the pH of the cow’s stomach and cause E. Coli to grow, so grain-finished meat is not safe)? Again, you need to know your source!
“No MSG!” — Since MSG can hide under tons of different pseudonyms, this claim may or may not be accurate. It won’t list MSG on the label, but it may list ” spices,” “natural flavorings,” “autolyzed yeast extract,” or any of the other dozens of different ways of saying “we’ve added MSG secretly.”
What other product claims have you seen and been confused by? Let me know!
Like what you've read? Subscribe so you never miss a post! You can also follow us on Facebook or Pinterest. Thanks for reading!