You can hardly walk through a supermarket these days, without spotting a myriad of confusing buzzwords on food labels. What do these trendy words even mean? As it turns out, they often mean very little. And falling for them (thinking they mean a particular food is “healthy”) can undermine your healthy eating plans. Be on guard against the following terms:
“Fat free”. Some foods contain fat. Some do not. So what? We’re supposed to eat some healthy types of fat, so just because a product claims to be “fat free” doesn’t mean you should stock up on it. In fact, many of those fat-free products contain a lot of added sugar – something you definitely do not want.
“Natural”. If a product comes straight from nature, without much processing or ingredients added, then it’s “natural”. There’s nothing wrong with that. But a lot of products are including this buzzword on their package, and it can be misleading. The FDA doesn’t actually have a definition for “natural” and does not enforce any guidelines upon use of the word. Therefore, any food manufacturer can slap this misleading word on their packaging, and trick you into eating something that really isn’t all that great for you.
“Simply made”. A piece of fruit is about the most simply-made food product you can purchase, yet it does not have this label stuck on it. Meanwhile, a lot of processed products do claim to be “simply made”. Like “natural”, “simply made” is a term that makes you think a food is healthy, even when it’s not. Ignore it.
“Non-GMO”. There is certainly nothing wrong with avoiding GMOs. However, there are only eight genetically-modified crops in use in the USA: corn, papaya, soybeans, sugar beets, squash, cotton, canola, and alfalfa. If a product doesn’t contain any of these ingredients, then it’s non-GMO by default. Adding the label is just a way of making you think the food is healthier somehow, even if it isn’t.
“Clean”. It’s probably great to pursue a clean diet, depending upon what that means to you. But once again, use of this buzzword on food labels is not regulated. So if you want to eat a “clean” diet, define your own parameters and decide for yourself which foods fit into your eating plan. Don’t make your decisions based upon ambiguous food labels.
For more information on a healthy diet, medical weight loss, or other nutritional supports, give us a call. We can help you establish a healthy eating plan without worrying about the trends.