You are trying to eat healthy, but are you being deceived?
When searching the grocery aisles for the healthiest products, we are faced with an abundance of choices. Aisle after aisle filled with products claiming to be fat free, low carb and all-natural on many of our favorite items. But what do these claims really mean? And are these claims in fact, true?
Here is a breakdown of the facts:
0 (zero) grams trans fats
When you see this on a package, you can bet there is probably trans fats in it. It just means that there is less than a gram per serving. If the amount of trans fat is less than 0.5 grams per serving, the FDA allows companies to list it as “0″ in the nutrition facts section. But if in the ingredient list you see “partially hydrogenated” fats or oils, that product does in fact have trans fats, as much as 0.49 grams per serving. If you eat several servings, you could be eating a lot of trans fats. Look for the words “no trans fats”.
This often screams “artificial sweeteners added”. So make sure that you know which ones they are. Artificial sweeteners are worse that real sugar.
Foods that are not normally low carb, like bread or candy, is made to be low carb. The carb is then replaced with anything from fiber to artificial sweeteners.
This means that it has less than three grams of fat per serving. Most of the time, when fat is removed from a food, something is used to replace that fat to keep it palatable, usually in the form of sugar or refined starches. This is true of other low fat claims like “light” (50% less fat), “fat free” (less than one gram of fat) and reduced fat (25% less fat). These sometimes can be worse than their higher fat counter parts. Also, just because it is lower in fat does not mean it is lower in calories.
Unfortunately, the food industry is attempting to lessen restrictions on what “organic” means, in an effort to sell more product. Right now the restriction is tight, so there are no loopholes. Organic means no pesticides, and no herbicides, period. The rules on what constitutes organic meats and chicken are very strict as well. The animals feed has to be free of chemicals and no hormones or antibiotics can be given to the animal. While it is not guaranteed, these animals are often treated better than their factory farmed counter parts
This term has relatively little meaning. These claims are not regulated and it has been reported that “free range” can consist of a little more than an hour in a pen outside or so called “access” to the outside. Your best bet is to look for organic, not free range.
Bottom line. Do your homework and don’t be fooled. When shopping for products, always read the complete ingredients list. You should never evaluate a product based on one item, such as its fat, cholesterol, sugar, carbohydrate, or salt content. Many companies promote their products based on a single item despite other unhealthy aspects in an attempt to lure you in.