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The Truth About 7 Misleading Food Label Claims

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Confusing Food Labels Explained

On today’s episode of Live Lean TV, I’m sharing the truth about 7 misleading food label claims.

Low fat, reduced fat, or light fat?

What do all of these food label claims really mean?

Let’s learn how to decode these confusing and often misleading food labels.

It’s no surprise that the majority of processed and packaged foods contain many cheap and nasty ingredients.

This is why food marketers are now printing all kinds of big bright labels on food packages.

Busting 5 Misleading Nutrition Label Claims

In fact, there was research done that showed consumers would spend 33% more money on foods that contained these healthy food label claims on the package.

Unfortunately many times these food label claims are not regulated and have very sketchy guidelines.

With that said, let’s dig a little bit deeper and discuss which food labels are regulated, and what they actually mean.

The Truth About 7 Misleading Food Label Claims

Here are the 7 confusing food labels decoded and defined.

#1. Food Label Claim: Trans Fat Free

Avoid These 7 Common Foods Containing Trans Fats

If you see a “Trans Fat Free” food label claim, you still need to be aware.

Trans fats are one of the worst things you can feed your body, as they’re very damaging to your heart.

Just because a food label claims to be “Trans Fat Free”, it does not guarantee the food contains no trans fats.

Food marketers can use the “Trans Fat Free” food label claim as long as the food contains less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving.

Look at it this way.

If you are overindulging by having 4 times the serving size of a “Trans Fat Free” pie, you could be attacking your heart with 2 grams of trans fat.

Not good.

#2. Food Label Claim: Gluten Free

We see this “Gluten Free” food label claim everywhere lately.

However, you still need to be aware.

The “Gluten Free” food label claim simply means the food is free from any ingredient containing gluten.

However, I’m going to say be aware.

Unfortunately, many people often jump to the conclusion that “Gluten Free” means the food is healthy.


Just because a food doesn’t contain gluten, it doesn’t necessarily guarantee it’s going to be healthy.

Many times gluten free products replace the gluten with ingredients like potato starch, which can actually spike insulin production just as high.

Not good.

#3. Food Label Claim: Sugar Free

Does Sugar Make You Fat?

Be aware.

Many times the “Sugar Free” food label claim means the sugar is just replaced with artificial sweeteners.

Although these artificial sweeteners don’t contain any calories, most of them are basically sweetened chemicals, and can be potentially more harmful to your body.

It’s best if the sugar free product uses a natural sweetener like stevia, which comes from a plant.

#4. Food Label Claim: High Fiber

The 22 Best High Fiber Foods For Weight Loss

Be aware.

The “High Fiber” food label claim means the food must contain more than 5 grams of fiber per serving.

However, it’s important to read the ingredients list to understand where the fiber is actually coming from.

For instance, some food marketers have been adding unnatural forms of functional fiber to products to up the fiber content.

Remember, the best kinds of fiber come from fruits and vegetables.

Always read the ingredients list and don’t fall for the hype.

#5. Food Label Claim: Organic

Organic vs Non-Organic Fruits And Vegetables

Fortunately, the term “Organic” is regulated.

The USDA regulates the usage of the food label claim “Organic” on all foods.

However, does this mean the food is 100% organic?

Not always.

Food marketers can use the organic food label claim as long as it is 95% organic, and not grown with pesticides or genetically modified.

Based on this, should you buy all organic food?

In a perfect world, I would say yes.

However, due to the reality of limited budgets, it may not be possible for all people.

Here’s a video post called, organic vs non-organic fruits and vegetables, where I covered the foods you should always buy organic, and the ones you can get away with just going conventional.

#6. Food Label Claim: Low Sodium, Reduced Sodium, Or Light Sodium

The Truth About Saturated Fat, Salt, Carbohydrates, and Protein

It’s important to be aware of the differences in the following food label claims regarding sodium:

  • Low Sodium: 140 mg of sodium per serving
  • Reduced Sodium: 25% less sodium than the original
  • Light In Sodium: 50% less sodium than the original

Any product that contains the “Low Sodium” food label claim has to contain less than 140 mg of sodium per serving.

However, don’t confuse “Low Sodium” with “Reduced Sodium”.

The “Reduced Sodium” food label claim is defined as having 25% less sodium than the original product.

Lastly, the “Light in Sodium” food label claim is defined as having 50% less sodium than the original product.

#7. Food Label Claim: Light Fat Or Reduced Fat Or Low Fat

These Low Fat Foods Are Making You Fat

It’s also important to be aware of the differences in the follow food label claims regarding fat:

  • Light Fat: Contains 50% less fat than the original product
  • Reduced Fat: Contains 25% less fat than the original product
  • Low Fat: Less than 3 grams of fat per serving

Typically these food label claims means the naturally occurring fat in the food has been removed and replaced with sugar.

This is not a good trade off.

The “Low Fat” food label claim means it has less than 3 grams per serving.

Similar to the sodium food label claim, “Reduced Fat” means it contains 25% less fat than the original product.

Finally, the “Light Fat” food label claim means it contains 50% less fat than the original product.

Bottom Line On The Truth About 7 Misleading Food Label Claims

There you go Live Lean Nation.

Even though I just shared the truth about 7 misleading food label claims, there are many others to be aware of.

Top 19 Misleading Food Labels That Are Deceiving You

Other Misleading Food Label Claims Include:

Here’s the bottom line.

Like all things, it’s buyer beware.

As a consumer, you must educate yourself on what these food label claims actually represent, so you don’t get taken advantage of.

I hope this video post helped clear up some of the mystery surrounding these misleading food label claims.

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Question Of The Day:

  • Which of these misleading food label claims was most surprising to you?
  • Are there any other food label claims that confuse you?

Share your experiences in the comment section below.

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35 responses to “The Truth About 7 Misleading Food Label Claims

  1. Great stuff. Best things you can do to help with this confusion is to buy
    products with very little ingredients, do some research and make your own
    when possible. It is tricky business, but you can pretty much not trust
    most labels. Generally, the bolder the claims the worse the product is.
    Thanks for the vid.

  2. Hey Brad. You encouraged us to put some coconut oil in the morning coffee.
    However I am confused as to trans and saturated fats. I just read that
    coconut oil contains saturated fats. Isn’t trans and saturated fats bad for
    the body?

  3. Brad can you do a video explaining some of the fitness terms? Like what
    macros are, what exactly are carbs and calories and which one is worse or
    better? I feel like I don’t fully know these things exactly

  4. Reading the labels usually comes to one conclusion: They write the food
    label so it looks good & healthy to the customer…so the schemers can get
    our money.
    Deceive them with bogus buzz words and sell them junk food for maximum
    ( I’ve seen the ‘gluten free’ stuff and the food contained sugar &
    dextrose! )
    Then on the grocery lane…Diet pills!

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