Thursday, October 23, 2014

Checking Labels- Is the Food You're Eating Healthy?


Misleading Advertising

We all want to do what's best for our kids, but it seems these days it's harder than ever to figure out what is healthy and what is not.  So many cereals, bars, protein powders, crackers, yogurts and pouches are all advertised as healthy.  They include buzz words and phrases like organic, natural, made with real fruit, made with whole grains, multigrain, enriched wheat flour.

This kind of marketing is purposefully misleading and confusing.  Advertisers want us to believe that something like fun fruits aka 'fruit snacks' labeled with the words organic and 'made with real fruit,' will fool us into thinking that cheap candy is a healthy snack.

The best way to ensure that your food is undeniably healthy is to shop the perimeter of the store. That's where the real foods are located like produce, diary and meats.  Ideally, these products should be bought organic when affordable.  If you have to pick and choose organic ingredients due to finances, buy regular fruits and vegetables (be sure to wash thoroughly) and go for organic dairy and meats which exclude antibiotics and hormones.


What to look for on the label

When you do need to shop for something that is packaged or canned check the ingredient list on the label.  The ingredient list is the most telling piece of information on the packaging.  Look for products with the least amount of ingredients, preferably less than 5.  All ingredients should be words you recognize.  If long words that remind you of high school chemistry begin to pop up, WALK AWAY.  It's amazing what you'll find on the ingredient list- even for things such as salami, which will often include caramel coloring.  Yogurts are often loaded with sugar and/or corn syrup and seemingly healthy bread is often mainly white flour with other grains.

Still confused by a label? Check out the 16 most misleading healthy food labels and buzz words.


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