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Food Labels 101

Posted on April 18, 2020 | No Comments on Food Labels 101

Label Lesson #3: Read between the lines

There are manufacturers that rely on your ignorance or apathy to read beyond the front labels. Manufacturers who target the more health-conscious consumer, on the other hand, use clever wordplay to lawfully conceal toxic ingredients. For example, words like “natural flavors” and “spices” are ways for manufacturers to label MSG without calling it MSG. “Hydrolyzed protein extract” sounds safe because of the word “protein,” but it really has the same toxic components as MSG. Similarly, artificial sweeteners can be called “nature-identical flavors.” Aspartame is now being labeled as “Anninosweet”, as if to convey a natural feeling to the name.

Another common trap is the label “Zero grams fat.” Contrary to popular belief, this does not mean “fat-free.” It just means that there may be 0.99 grams of fat. This may not seem like much, but if you’ve consumed multiple servings thinking you’re in the clear, you’ve unknowingly consumed probably a significant amount of fat. Suddenly, you may wonder why your pants begin to feel a little tighter.

Also, there’s a difference between real fruit juice and juice “drink”—and don’t let the presence of pulp fool you into thinking that the drink is real juice. The perfect example of this is cranberry juice. Real cranberry juice is dark red and thick, is relatively sour, and has very little sweetness. Most cranberry “juices” or “cocktails,” have such little real juice that if you want to clear a UTI or manage gout, you’d be better off just drinking water.

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