Many of the foods we consume are not as healthy as the manufacturer's make them out to be. Over the years, many companies have found small ways to bypass the FDA guidelines. They divulge just enough information to be truthful, but tend to stop just short of telling the absolute truth about a product. Sometimes guilt by omission is the name of the game. Even the occasional "word swap" can take place, effectively pulling the wool over suspecting customers' eyes.
How do you know when the foods you are eating contain hidden secrets? A few simple tips will help you uncover some of the information you will need to know. They include:
- Look for how words are spelled and how they actually relate to the product. The words light and lite have been used interchangeably even though they have different meanings. Light refers to the color of the food, while lite may indicate reduced calories or fat content
- Natural flavorings is a common ingredient in many different foods. They are used to enhance the flavor of a wide variety of foods. Individuals who want to avoid salt now have to look at natural flavorings just as much as they do the word sodium. Karageenan is a food enhancer that the FDA has recently targeted recommending its removal from many foods. It is a natural flavoring derived from seaweed that is extremely high in sodium. It can be labeled as natural because it is, even though it is dangerous for individuals on a low sodium diet.
- Artificial sweeteners are another "natural" flavoring. Certain sweeteners like sucralose are made from real sugar, but go through a chemical process that breaks down and removes certain molecules. Many manufacturers are claiming the "natural" moniker because of the sweetener's initial connection to sugar.
The main rule of thumb is to always read the label thoroughly. Do your research and if you cannot pronounce it, you probably shouldn't be eating it!