Making Sense out of Tricky Labels

When it comes to reading labels, it is important to understand what a claim on a label really means.  There are certain terms that can sound great but can be misleading.  What does it mean when it says organic, or natural.  And what about those crazy claims?  Here are some quick hints…

Claim What it Really Means
Fat Free High Sugar and chemical toxins
Trans Fat Free Typically contains trans fats but in amounts under the 500mg/serving “allowable amount”
Reduced Fat   Increased sugar and chemical toxins
NOTE:  When manufacturers take out the fats, they also take out a lot of the taste.  In order to bring back some taste, they add excessive amounts of sugar.

 

Sugar Free     Artificial Sweeteners
No Sugar Added Contains high amounts of natural sugars that still spike blood sugar
“Diet” Contains artificial ingredients, artificial sweeteners, damaged fats, etc.
Excessively long expiration dates Highly processed and preserved
Endorsements Based more on the amount of money a company donates to a cause than the actual health benefits of the food.
Natural There are no real guidelines for use of this term
Organic Refers to products that use no chemical toxins (like pesticides), or chemical preservatives

Definitions Explained:

• 100 percent Organic — All ingredients are organic.
• Organic — 95 percent or more of the total ingredients are organic.
• Made with Organic Ingredients — At least 70 percent of the ingredients are organic

More “organic” information:

Produce – grown without the use of chemical fertilizers or pesticides, and are not genetically engineered
Beef – the feed (see below) does not contain pesticides and often do not receive antibiotics and growth hormones. Albeit organic, cows are still fed grains (rather than grass), and are typically highly vaccinated
Chicken – you will often see “natural” which means that the chickens contain no artificial ingredients but does not necessarily mean it is organic.  Free-range means that the chickens can roam free but does not necessarily mean they are organic.  Cage free typically means that they are still kept indoors, without cages but still in very cramped quarters.
Milk – can hold the organic label as long as the feed is organic and the cow was given no antibiotics or growth hormones within the last year.

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