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Amy Hendel's Food Label Myths

























  1. If it says NATURAL, you assume healthier and the FDA says natural must mean that the food product has no synthetic or artificial ingredients.

  2. It can contain genetically modified ingredients, high fructose corn syrup, processed sugar, and saturated fat or it could be heavily processed.


TIP #1: If you want NATURAL, eat something fresh picked or organic.

  1. Pictures of fruit on the front of the box or beverage- This is notorious on fruit punch or fruit roll-ups, leading you to believe it's MOSTLY made from fruit or has significant amounts of fruit in it. But more often than not, it DOES NOT. Often times there's sugar, dyes, and some fruit concentrate, but not WHOLE REAL FRUIT.

  2. Calorie counting- Manufacturers are allowed a 20% "margin of error." That means that if it says 500 calories per serving, it could actually have up to 600 calories. Eat enough foods with imprecise calorie counts and you could gain lots of weight.


TIP #2: Choose to eat a salad. You prepare it. You measure the ingredients. You make and measure the dressing. You're in control.

  1. Zero grams of trans fats on the product label and you assume that means NO TRANS FAT.

  2. Trans fats taste really good. Some say they're addictive.  

  3. Companies are allowed to make that "zero" claim as long as there is 0.5 grams or less of trans fat. If you eat several of the foods that say zero, but have 0.5 grams of trans fat, you can accumulate several grams in your daily diet.



TIP #3: Choose snacks free of trans fats.

  1. Tomatoes were the first in 1994 to be genetically modified. Now it can be corn, papaya, and even the milk you drink comes from cows that are fed genetically modified feed, unless otherwise indicated on the label.

  2. There are two sides to the discussion: higher crop yield vs. belief it may be instigating more allergies. Some believe it can ultimately reduce diversity because the "hardiest survive" and because some foods are modified by using organisms, it could lead to newly emerging diseases.


TIP #4: Choose foods with non-GMO label.

  1. Labels are now showing "non-GMO" on a diverse array of products.

  2. Certification– The Non-GMO Project is a non-profit currently vetting products, restaurants, and retailers exclusively offering only non-GMO items.


For more information on this initiative, go to nongmoproject.org.



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