What These Food Labels Really Mean

What These Food Labels Really Mean

What These Food Labels Really Mean

Think of the first term that comes to mind when someone mentions the word healthy. Labels like “organic,” “fat-free,” or “natural” probably popped up first. While food labels are important, it’s easy to be mislead by terms that sound promising. Take organic, for example. This buzzword can easily mislead consumers into thinking a product is 100% organic when it really isn’t. The next time you head to the grocery store, make sure you understand what these eight food labels really mean.

1. Cholesterol-free

If a product is labeled cholesterol-free, it’s not exactly true. According to FDA, companies are allowed to make claims about their products being cholesterol free, as long as they contain less than 2 milligrams of cholesterol in each serving. Meaning you’ll most likely end up getting a good amount of cholesterol after a few servings. The American Heart Association also mentions that cholesterol comes from animal ingredients. So, if you’re buying a product claiming to be “cholesterol free” even when it does not contain dairy or meat, it’s simply a marketing scheme to increase sales.

2. Fat-free

A lot like cholesterol free, foods are also allowed to be labeled fat-free as long as they contain less than .5 grams per serving. To make matters worse, these products usually tend to be filled with high levels of sugar, salt or artificial thickeners to make up for the lack of fat. With little nutrition, they also tend to leave you less satisfied, which can result in overeating.

3. Sugar-free

Many us of worry about getting to much sugar in the diet, so when we see sugar-free products, we often get over excited. However, products labeled sugar-free, still contain small amounts of sugar. These products are still allowed less than .5 grams of sugar per serving. While, it may contain small amounts of sugar, it can still contain carbohydrates, which includes complex carbohydrates, fiber and sugar. If you’re looking to satisfy your sweet tooth, stick to wholesome, real foods, like fruits. They may be high in naturally occurring sugars, bu they are filled with nutrition.

4. Non GMO

People are often mislead, thinking non GMO also means organic, but that’s not the case. Some non GMO products still contain small amounts of pesticides and antibiotics, meaning not all GMO free products meet the organic standards. However, products that are certified organic are non GMO. This is often where much of the confusion comes from.

5. Multigrain

This is a common label found on bread and other products. However, it is often misleading to buyers, as many people think they are buying whole grain when they are not. Food products can have this label as long as the ingredients contain more than one type of cereal grain. These products are also often high in sugar, bleached, refined and processed, leaving them with little nutritional value.

6. Natural

Natural, is one of the most misleading food labels, because it is so unclear. This label can mean just about anything when it’s placed on your food. As long as the products you are purchasing are free of artificial colors, flavorings, and synthetic substances, companies are free to use the word “natural” on their products. Meaning, natural products can still contain GMO’s, added sugars and artificial ingredients. Natural products are not free of GMO’s and they are not organic unless labeled otherwise with proper certifications.

7. Cage-free

Cage-free doesn’t always mean cruelty free. Labels like these simply mean the animals were not caged, but still kept in industrial chicken houses without access to the outdoors. This also does not guarantee the animals are fed an antibiotic free diet.

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What These 8 ‘Healthy’ Food Labels Really Mean

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