Thursday, April 19, 2012

Deceiving Food Labels

Hi guys! Clearly I took last week off, sorry about it, I was playing hard to get. This week though I'm back with vengeance. This week, I'm going to talk about misleading food packaging and show you some better alternatives. What prompted this you may wonder? Well, I was strolling through my neighborhood Albertsons, literally strolling, I don't go with a grocery list, I just wander up and down every aisle, when I came across a recurring phenomenon. SO many products claimed to be 'all natural' or 'whole grain' and then I read the ingredients, and, well, half of them i couldn't pronounce. So here we go.

Veggie Shreds. A seemingly 'healthier' alternatives to cheese. I mean it has to be healthy, it has the word veggie in it. Here's the weird pard, IT HAS NO VEGETABLES IN IT. NONE. I know those ingredients are hard to read but there are no veggies listed. I read it three times. Unbelievable. Plus look at all those ingredients. I can't pronounce more than half of them. Never a good sign. Alternative?
Good old, regular cheese. If you're feel like cheese, go for the real stuff. Portion it out, they're the same amount of calories. And look at the ingredients on the real cheese. It's a short list, and I know what they are.
Applesauce. A staple since 1842. With 100 calories per cup what could be bad? Mmmmm how about that sugar content? 24 GRAMS. That is pure insanity. Second ingredient? High fructose corn syrup. That sneaky bastard.
Instead, let's go with the No Sugar Added one! Only 50 calories per serving and 11 grams of sugar, none of which is artificial.
Okay, when I was in the firmest grasps of my anorexia, 'Light Canned Soup' was literally all I ate. It tasted great and was low in calories. I ONLY used to look at the calorie content. I didn't care about the ingredients or other nutrition facts...clearly. Because LOOK AT THE SODIUM CONTENT. 690 mg....PER SERVING. There's TWO servings per can. That's almost 1,400 mg in one meal. Oh and if case you were wondering, recommended intake of sodium is around 2,000 mg PER DAY. My insides must have been saltier that cured meat. Yuck.
Instead, look for the 'no salt added' or 'low sodium' options if you have to eat canned soup. This can has 270 mg for the whole thing as opposed to 1,400 mg.
This cracks me up. "MORE WHOLE GRAIN THAN ANY OTHER INGREDIENT!". In case you didn't know, ingredients are listed by weight/amount. So yes, the first ingredient is whole grain oats. But the second AND third AND fifth, are SUGAR. I don't have a healthy alternative to this because, well, they're Lucky Charms. Delicious? Absolutely. Magically? Nah, sugar-ly.
99% fat free will draw us in like a moth to the flame, right? Boom, in the cart. But upon further inspection, 1 container has a crazy 36 grams of carbs and 29 grams of sugar. & only 5 grams of protein. So healthy.
If you read my blog regularly, you know I'm a greek yogurt whore. I can't live without it. And for 130 calories per cup, 9 carbs, 9 grams of sugar, and 23 GRAMS OF PROTEIN, how couldn't I be?

Lol. Lol, lol, lol, lol. Lol-ing so much. Sugar Free Oreos ya'll. Ingredients listed, by amount. Number one? Maltitol. A sugar alcohol. Artificial sweetener. Also on the list we have acesulfame potassium and Sucralose. More artificial sweeteners. So you won't get fat, you'll just get cancer. Next is the Weight Watchers cookies. Just...just look at the laundry list of ingredients.
Instead, go with a cookie with the least amount of ingredients. Preferably, all of which you can pronounce. Sure they're probably more calories, but you also won't want to eat as many because you'll be satisfied. And you're putting REAL food into your body.
Moving on to drinks that claim to be healthy. This one kills me. Green tea with honey. Seems harmless. No perservatives, artificial colors or flavors. But with 17 grams of sugar per serving and 2.5 servings per bottle, That's putting you 42.5 grams of sugar per bottle. Putting that simpler, a can of Coke is 39 grams.

Vitamin Water is one of my FAVORITE misleading labels. Vitamin, Water. Seems so good. So good in fact that why bother reading the nutrition information? Oh because it has 33 grams of carbs and 32 grams of sugar. That's why.

Green Machine. Look at that bottle. It's a health conscious consumers dream. Green, Naked, All Natural, Fruit, No Sugar Added. And then there are 28 grams of sugar. Yes, they are all natural which is why I added the ingredient list. All sugar comes from the fruit. But that doesn't take away from the fact that it's still sugar and it's still 280 calories...for a drink.

And lastly, my personal favorite. "NUTRITIOUS AND DELICIOUS" 1% Chocolate Milk. It contains NO high fructose corn syrup! However, it is two servings per bottle. So, per bottle, 360 calories, 56 carbohydrates, and a WHOPPING 54 GRAMS OF SUGAR. They sell this at schools. Putting those grams of sugar in an even scarier perspective, look at this--
Four, King Sized, Reece's Sticks, 34 grams of sugar. A pack of Twix, 24 grams of sugar. A whole, King Size Hershey's bar, 41 grams of sugar. ALL less than the supposedly 'nutritious' chocolate milk they're selling your kids. You want to get something out of schools? That's the thing.

So pick your poison and pick is wisely, because as Dr. Ann Wigmore said,

"The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.”

Happy, Healthy, Thursday. x


  1. This was such a good read!I am often so concerned with just the calories that I forget to look at everything else especially sodium (guilty). And packaging like you said is so misleading, i mean vege shreads minus the vege? that is insane! i will definitely keep your post in mind the next time i hit the grocery store!

  2. I just recently discovered your blog (love it btw! -- would love if you could post more healthy recipes! including lunch/etc!) I'm still looking at your pages :)

    I was wondering, do you possibly have a guide to reading food labels? What some words/mean/good--bad things?

    Like what's the maximum sodium/carbs that you should consume a day. I noticed you mentioned sodium for 2,000 a day.
    What is the normal calories that should be consumed?

    Would love you input! Thanks!!

  3. Could we please use some of the images on this page, especially the ones about apple sauce, in a free wellness resource notebook for clients who are enrolled in our free worksite wellness program?