Don’t be fooled by hype words you see on packaging and menus. Just because it’s says “fat-free”, “high-fiber”, “veggie” or “made with real fruit” does not make it a healthy food. Take some time to read between the lines and see what is hiding behind these eye-catching terms that trick people into believing they are making a healthy choice.
The term: Fat-Free
The problem: When a food is processed to become a fat-free product it has to have ingredients added to make up for taste and texture. So what is put in the place of the fat? Things like sodium, sugar and chemical fillers.
The fix: Go for foods in their natural state. Instead of a fat-free salad dressing take a minute to make your own. Whisk together mustard, olive oil, squeeze of lemon and black pepper. So tasty!
The term: Made with Real Fruit
The problem: This usually means the company added a little of the healthy ingredient so they could say it was “made with real fruit”.
The fix: Go for the real deal and have yourself a juicy piece of fruit.
The term: High fiber or high protein
The problem: These terms don’t necessarily mean that the food is nutritious. The product can easily be loaded with sugar or chemical ingredients that you don’t need in your body.
The fix: Read your labels. Check the ingredient lists. Do you recognize the ingredients? Is the product high in sugar or sodium? Try to stick to foods made with 5 or less ingredients and ones that you can actually pronounce.
The term: Enriched
The problem: Enriched sounds like a good thing but when it comes to food it means that it was stripped of nutrients during processing so it had to be added back in. Your body processes enriched foods differently than foods in their natural state. Let’s take a look at enriched white flour for example. When flour is stripped down it becomes a starch which your body reacts to like sugar.
The fix: Swap out enriched flour with whole wheat, oat flour, rye flour, almond meal, brown rice flour or millet flour. Your body will thank you!
The term: Sugar-Free
The problem: “Sugar-Free” means the product can not contain more than a half gram of sugar per serving but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is healthy or low calorie. The food can still be high in fat and carbs. On top of that the sugar may have been replaced with an artificial sweeteners which can cause the body to crave more sugar create side effects like bloating.
The fix: Again, read your labels. Avoid products made with artificial sweeteners like aspartame, saccharin and sucralose.
Now for the good terms to look for!
The term: Hormone-Free
The goods: The USDA prohibits use of hormones in all pork and poultry products. However, the USDA allows the use of hormones in beef. So if you want to stear clear of these hormones in beef products just look for the label “Hormone-Free” or “No hormones administered”.
The term: No Antibiotics
The goods: Antibiotics are highly used among animals to fend off diseases. Public health officials warn that doing so breeds antibiotic-resistant bacteria that can infect people. Look for the label “No antibiotics added”.
The term: Organic
The goods: Organic produce and other ingredients are grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation. Animals that produce meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products do not take antibiotics or growth hormones. Look for the USDA Organic seal to make sure the food was made without the use of toxic pesticides, artificial hormones or antibiotics injected into the cattle and no GMO’s (genetically modified organisms). Not sure where to start? Check out the list below. The dirty dozen list is the most important to buy organic.
Happy eating and have a great day! 🙂