It’s a common occurrence. You are going down the aisles of the supermarket. You see a product you like or your screaming child wants, and you notice a new health claim on the package. You may think, “Wow, this must be better for me” or “Certainly, this is a healthy product.” Little do you know, this may not be so great for you after all. Have you been fooled? Yeah, I know, like you needed one more thing to have to do. Hopefully, this will help take the guesswork out so you can concentrate on getting what you need without being confused or frustrated. Here are 5 food claims to watch out for when grocery shopping.
All Natural, Natural, Naturally, or 100% Natural are all seen on products in the supermarket. This term is not regulated nor does it mean that it makes the product healthy. The manufacturer decides what determines the product to be natural.
“Made with” Manipulation?
General Mills is currently having to defend its “made with real fruit” claim in a California court regarding their fruit roll ups. You can learn more about it here. It’s really a must read.
“Made with whole grains” is also a popular claim. The product could have been made with 1 teaspoon of whole grains and the manufacturer makes the “made with” claim. This is misleading to consumers, and it’s not regulated by the government. Make sure to look at the ingredient list on the food label. If fruit or whole grains are one of the top 3 ingredients, then most of the product is actually living up to the “made with” claim. Also look for the Whole Grain Stamp to verify how much whole grain is involved.
Pure and purely are terms you may notice on products. Crystal Light Pure may leave you thinking that the ingredients are purely from nature, right? Here’s the first 5 ingredients: sugar, citric acid, malic acid, maltodextrin, and calcium lactate. Chances are many of you don’t even know what these ingredients are even though they claim no artificial sweeteners, flavors, or preservatives on the box. Purely misleading, don’t you think?
If simple or simply are on the product, you may want to take a second look. Simply Gogurt or Simply Fruit come to mind when thinking of this play on words. While Simply Fruit Roll Ups and Simply Gogurt are a much better alternatives to their original products, it can be misleading to consumers. This is not regulated by the government, just the food industry.
Just because it’s says a product uses the word “nature” doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Some products like to have an earthy brown or green look to them. They may even tout a recycle emblem to show how earth friendly they are. If this is a fruit, vegetable, or whole grain, you can count on the fact that nature produced this. If this is a cookie or cake, it’s still junk food.
Takeaway: Now what do you put in your grocery cart?
1. Read your ingredient lists! I can’t emphasize this enough. If you can’t pronounce half the stuff on the list, don’t buy it.
2. Call the company and let them know your questions and/or displeasure. Just keep in mind they want to sell you on the product.
3. Look for the Whole Grain Stamp of approval. It makes finding real whole grain products easier.
4. If it says, “made with” on the package, make sure the ingredient they are pushing is one of the first three.
5. If you see any of these claims on packaging, be skeptical.
What’s you most annoying food claim?
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