Eating healthy has been at the forefront of many people’s minds, which hasn’t gone unnoticed by many popular food manufacturers. Here are some of the tricks that food manufacturers have played to keep you coming back for more.
Many buyers decide based on the package design and will select what looks like a healthy product. The problem is that while it may look healthy, it may not be. Typical creative packaging intended to look healthy includes earth-toned colors with natural designs.
Another trick used to get money from health-conscious consumers is to put some healthy-sounding words on the labels. Usually, those terms are in bigger print than the rest of the words. This strategy is intended to draw your attention away from the ingredients list.
Some common “healthy” words may include:
Fat-Free – Just because something doesn’t have any fat doesn’t mean that it isn’t loaded with sugar or calories.
No Sugar Added – This means that no additional sugar was added, not that there isn’t any sugar in the product. This is because many ingredients naturally have sugar in them. Not to mention that the manufacturer might have just used another type of sweetener.
All Natural – Being all-natural doesn’t automatically mean that this is good for you. After all, high-fructose corn syrup is all-natural.
Zero Trans Fat – Even though it says “zero” trans fat, they can have up to 0.5 grams per serving.
Multigrain –This just means that it was made with multiple types of grain and may or may not be healthy. The best option is to look for 100% whole grains.
Made with Real Fruit – When they put this on the label, they must have real fruit as an ingredient. However, it doesn’t indicate that there are high levels of fruit–it could be trace amounts.
Concealing Sugar Levels
This can be one of the worst and most widely used tricks because one study found that up to 74% of packaged foods have some form of hidden sugar. They can do this by using one of 60+ different terms used for sugar, like high-fructose corn syrup, barley malt, dextrose, maltose, and rice syrup.
Buzzwords that Sell
Some words that started to indicate food quality have been taken and misused to disguise unhealthy products. Something like “organic” or “free-range” actually describes how the food is grown or processed, not how healthy it is.
The key to eating healthy is avoiding overly processed foods and carefully reading the nutrition labels. Don’t rely on the integrity of the food manufacturers to guide your purchases.