Raise your hand if you have ever been influenced by marketing – especially from the food and beverage industry? OK, that’s a silly question – we ALL have. Think about how many times you have chosen an item over another at the grocery store just because of the health claims on the label. Was the item really healthier or just hype?
Let’s look at a couple of examples to see what I’m talking about. First up, the cereal, Kellogg’s Smart Start. On the box it claims it has antioxidants and also implies by the name that it’s a smart choice to start your day off in the morning. However, per 1 cup, you’ll get 14 grams of sugar, artificial flavors and colors and a long list of ingredients that also includes BHT (Butylated hydroxytoluene), a controversial additive used to preserve food that is potentially carcinogenic.
Next on the list is yogurt. Who doesn’t think yogurt is healthy these days? Well, not all yogurts are exactly created equal. Some still contain the artificial sweetener, Aspartame, linked to a number of health problems and side effects.
If you are a calorie counter, you may think that a yogurt like, Yoplait Whips Lowfat Yogurt should fit your “diet.” Their package also says it is “light and fluffy,” so that must be good too, right? Hmmm…
Unfortunately, for the people that don’t read the entire label, they would miss the fact that they are also taking in over 17 grams of added sugar. Not only is that is more sugar than the average chocolate chip cookie, but also it is almost your entire recommended daily allotment of added sugar (which is 25 grams). Yikes!
Ingredients are tricky, and if you aren’t well versed in reading and understanding food labels, it can be quite frustrating. For as much as we are drawn to good marketing, these buzz words make it harder and harder to fully understand what we are putting into our bodies.
Don’t be fooled…Here are some tricky “health food” buzz words that marketing companies want you to believe.
All Natural – Not defined by the FDA, what does “all natural” even mean? There is a lot of room for interpretation here, so this one is a big one. Look for added preservatives and higher levels of sodium.
Multi-grain – Instead look for whole grain or 100% whole wheat.
Sugar free – This one can be confusing, as sugar free doesn’t mean free from sugar. These products may have sugar alcohols such as sorbitol and xylitol. And possibly full of fat.
Free Range – this one has been gaining a lot of popularity these days. Free range means that the animals have exposure to the outdoors – there are no requirements for the amount, duration, and quality of outdoor access.
Fat free – food may be free of fat, but what is confusing here is that oftentimes, it is full of sugar.
If your food has these words, double-check the label and ingredients. Stick with foods with as few ingredients as possible and ones that you can pronounce and know.
This week I will be posting a video about how to successfully read food labels. Join my private Facebook group, Inner Fire, to check it out, as well as more nutrition tips, motivation and ways to get and stay healthy without dieting.
Let’s get fired Upp,
P.S. If you have any questions on how you can get off the yo-yo dieting train, I’m happy to give you some tips and suggestions in a complimentary Fitness Success call. Just Email me to schedule.