Trying to be a health-conscious shopper but confused by all of the info plastered on food packaging? Beware of these common misleading claims.
Tag: food labels
The Great Egg Crisis of 2015
Worried about the commercial egg supply crisis brought on by the rapid spread of deadly bird flu across U.S. farms? Rightly so. The H5N2 virus has stricken and in many cases killed nearly 47 million birds, most of them hens who provided eggs for processed foods or bakeries. In only weeks, a third of the commercial egg supply has vanished, leaving bakers scrambling. The good news is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has approved the importation of egg products from the Netherlands to help relieve the pressure, and seven countries are now approved to import shell eggs for use by bakeries and food processors: Chile, Argentina, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and Portugal. Even though the flu will likely abate when temperatures rise, the effects on egg supply may linger for years. Meanwhile, the price of eggs for consumers has skyrocketed more than 120 percent, prompting some shoppers to buy less-affected cage-free and organic eggs, which haven’t seen as great a price surge. Read more
Ever wondered what that “high-fiber” cereal is actually providing in the way of fiber? (And is it less impressive than the box labeled “fiber-rich”?) Or ever considered how many calories are in a “low-calorie” sports drink?
In order for a food company to splash words like “high in fiber” across its packaging, the product must adhere to specific guidelines established by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA also regulates claims at the other end of the spectrum: Foods that boast being “low in” or “free” of something (such as sodium), must also meet requirements. Here’s a cheat sheet of what’s behind the buzzwords.
The nutrition label currently on packaged food (above left) has been in place since the early 1990s. But earlier this year, the FDA announced that the Nutrition Facts label would be undergoing a makeover. This morning, the agency released details of the proposed label (above right).
One of the major changes is the emphasis on calories and serving sizes. The calories will appear in a larger, bold font, while the serving sizes will be a more accurate reflection of how most people eat today. For example, the serving size for ice cream has always been ½ cup. Now, the serving size will be a more realistic 1 cup. The 20-fluid ounce soda bottle that typically has 2.5 servings per container will now be labeled as one serving — so consumers will no longer need to calculate the total amounts on their own. Among other proposed changes:
There are so many egg varieties at the market these days, it’s easy to crack under pressure if you don’t know what labels mean. That said, no matter what the carton says or the type of eggs you buy, the most important thing to remember is this: The better the hens eat, the better the eggs.
More than 3 million Americans suffer from celiac disease, an autoimmune condition that makes them unable to digest gluten. The only way to treat the disease is to exclude gluten from the diet or else risk damage to the digestive system as well as nutrient deficiencies and other serious medical problems.
The new FDA rule mandates that products labeled “gluten-free” must contain no more than 20 parts per million of gluten. While many companies have already set this limit for themselves, the FDA rule, which food manufacturers must comply with by this time next year, will help ensure that companies using the term are adhering to the standard.
These foods all sound healthy, but don’t be fooled — they may not be as healthy as they seem.
Don’t be duped into choosing “ground turkey” as a leaner alternative to ground beef. The truly leaner choice is ground turkey breast – that’ll save you more than 100 calories and 15 grams of fat per 4-ounce serving compared to ground turkey which contains more dark meat and skin.
Pick up some turkey breast and try these 5-ingedient turkey burgers.
Sorry folks, these babies aren’t just dried up banana slices, they’re fried, just like potato chips. A half-cup serving has almost 200 calories and 10 grams of fat! The good news is, you can make your own and forgo all the grease.
With thousands of food choices at your local store it can be difficult to know if you are choosing foods that are truly good for you. In recent years there have been several types of nutrient rating systems derived to help you make better choices — but have you found yourself asking whether or not they are actually helpful? Find out what all those numbers really mean.
Glycemic Index: Measures how quickly food is metabolized into glucose when digested. The G.I. also estimates how much each gram of available carbohydrate (this equals total carbohydrates minus fiber, which is non-digestible) in a food raises a person’s blood glucose level following consumption of the food.
Examples: Glucose has a glycemic index of 100; all other foods have lower glycemic indexes.
Pros: Helpful for diabetics and those counting carbs.
Cons: Not as informative regarding fats and proteins.
There are some packaged foods that make me want to scream! Some try to make not-very-healthy foods seem like they’re super nutritious, while others take healthy food and make them less nutritious. Oftentimes the first thought in my mind is “who thought this up?” Check out these outlandish foods, and keep in mind that if a label claim sounds too good to be true, it probably is. You’re better off eating real, whole foods over packaged or manufactured foods any day.
#1: Snap Infusion Supercandy
This candy is marketed as having “the deliciousness and instant gratification of candy, packed with super benefits.” It’s packed with a variety of B-vitamins, the antioxidant vitamins C and E, and a variety of electrolytes.
Instead: Be careful popping these over-fortified candies. Eat a balanced meal to get B-vitamin from proteins, vitamin C and potassium from fruit and veggies, vitamin E from healthy fats, and electrolytes from dairy.
The supermarket aisles are flooded with health claims from “healthy, all-natural” frozen dinners to “cholesterol-lowering” granola bars. We’re constantly getting conflicting messages on what to what to eat — from organic produce to free-range or grass-fed meat — and what to avoid — from trans fats to high fructose corn syrup. It’s not surprising that most consumers are left wondering what to believe and what it all means.