Here is just one example of how the food industry uses slick marketing techniques to confuse, coerce, and bamboozle you into thinking that you’re doing something good for yourself by buying their new “healthy” products that are simply slightly modified junk foods. They’re taking advantage of our nutritional naivety — and this country’s labeling laws. Lets take a look at the new labeling laws for trans fats. These unhealthy chemically altered fats are found in almost every processed food even though they’re known to be one of the causes of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and dementia.
Clearly, trans fats aren’t fit for human consumption and should be completely eliminated from our food supply. So does our government protect us from these toxic fats?
Of course not!
Instead, through powerful lobbying efforts, the food industry was able to put a big loophole in trans fat labeling laws. That means you can now buy the same old junk food — with “zero” trans fats. But read the label’s fine print, and you’ll find the words “hydrogenated fats.”
The catch: Unless you know food chemistry, you probably don’t know that hydrogenated fats are the very same thing as trans fats!
Is this false advertising? Well, not exactly.
According to the new law, manufacturers can claim that their products are trans-fat-free if they contain less than 0.5 grams of trans fats PER SERVING (1/2 cup). But we know that most people eat the whole box or package of food and rarely eat just one serving. Most packaged foods contain 2 to 4 servings, which are usually never shared. That means you are getting a lot more trans fats per snack or meal!
Plus, another loophole in these labeling laws allows companies with a storehouse of printed labels to use them until 2007, even if they don’t indicate the amount of trans fats in the food. That means that a company could have printed a year’s worth of labels on December 31, 2005 — so it can use them on foods with large amounts of trans fats for a whole year.
You think you’re getting trans-fat-free food, but you’re really eating trans-fat-FULL food! And if you’re eating these foods on a regular basis (as the $33 billion that the food industry spends on consumer marketing helps ensure), then you’re still eating a lot of trans fats.
The government looks like it’s doing the right thing — but you’re really just eating the same old junk with a new label that makes it look healthy.