What’s On the Box? Beware of Front Label Tease

As a parent, we try to do what’s best for our kids. We think we’re making smart decisions when it comes to their food – because the box may say so. Trust me- I was one of them. It wasn’t until I really committed myself to learning more about nutrition and what’s REALLY in our food that I got a HUGE wake up call. Even what I *thought* were good choices for my kids, were more often that not, laden with sugar, preservatives, and nasty additives that I was worried about the damage it was going to do to my kids.

What the food industry put on their packaging can be confusing at best, misleading at worse. They can give consumers a false sense of eating healthy; leading them to eat more processed and packaged foods – which ultimately lead to a slew of health issue that our nation is facing right now.

  • Fortified, enriched, added, extra, and plus = nutrients such as minerals and fiber have been removed and then vitamins are added back during processing.
    Look for 100% whole-wheat bread, and high-fiber, low-sugar cereals.
  • Fruit drink = probably little or no real fruit and a lot of sugar.
    Look for products that say “100% Fruit Juice”, and consume in moderation. Even better, eat a piece of fruit instead.
  • Made with wheat, rye, or multi-grains = have very little whole grain.
    Look for the word “whole” before the grain to ensure that you’re getting a 100% whole-grain product.
  • Natural = the manufacturer started with a natural source, but once it’s processed the food may not resemble anything natural.
    Look for “100% All Natural” and “No Preservatives.”
  • Organically grown, pesticide-free, or no artificial ingredients: Trust only labels that say “Certified Organically Grown” and look for the USDA seal.
  • Sugar-free, reduced fat or fat-free: Don’t assume the product is low-calorie. The manufacturer compensated the change in texture with unhealthy ingredients that don’t taste very good and some of these products have no fewer calories than the real thing. Also, sugar-free foods are most likely to be sweetened with artificial sweeteners – which the body recognizes as toxic chemicals.
  • The term “whole grain” is allowed to be used very loosely. The nutrition value of flour made from whole grain is quite different from when you eat the grain in its entirely – such as when you cook quinoa, brown rice, or millet.
  • 0 trans fat = this label is allowed on foods that contain less than 0.5 gram of trans fat per serving. (No amount of trans fat is recommended, and it only takes 2 grams of trans fats to show its harmful effect.)

When we know better, we do better! I’ve taken months and months to do research, write ebooks, and create free resources to help people everywhere (especially parents) just become more aware of what we’re putting in our bodies.

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