Busting 5 Misleading Nutrition Label Claims

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Don’t be fooled by these deceptive FDA approved food label claims

On today’s episode of Live Lean TV, I’m busting 5 misleading nutrition label claims, that you need to avoid, even when they are FDA approved.

According to the FDA’s Food Labeling Guide, here’s the role this federal governmental agency plays in regulating nutrition label claims:

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for assuring that foods sold in the United States are safe, wholesome and properly labeled. 

So knowing the food industry has to comply with the FDA’s regulations, should you just trust every nutrition label claim that they approve?

I know you’re smarter than that.

Big business and profits run the world, so it’s up to you to take personal responsibility, and make educated decisions when it comes to the foods you feed yourself, and your family.

So with that said, here are 5 misleading nutrition label claims to watch out for, even when they are FDA approved.

Busting 5 misleading nutrition label claims:

#1. Made with whole grains

Just because your box of crackers says it’s made with whole grains, does this make it healthy?

I think not.

Even though I’m not a huge fan of having a lot of whole grains in your diet, here’s why this nutrition label claim can be very misleading.

A whole grain is made up of 3 different parts:

  • the germ: is the inner layer which tends to be more rich in nutrients
  • the endosperm: is the middle layer and contains smaller amounts of vitamins and minerals
  • the bran: is the outer layer of the whole grain and contains the most fiber

Unfortunately, the healthiest parts of the whole grain are usually stripped during processing, which essentially leaves you with bleached wheat flour, a.k.a. white flour.

So even though the nutrition label claims the product is made with whole grains, it could be primarily made with white flour, with just a small dosage of whole grains.

Even if the product is made with just 100% whole grains, it also doesn’t account for all the other unhealthy ingredients like sugar, vegetable oils, and artificial sweeteners, that may be added to the product.

Busting 5 Misleading Nutrition Label Claims

Plus many packages promote that one serving contains “5 grams of whole grains”, however it takes 16 grams of whole grains to count as one serving of whole grains.

This means you’d need to eat more than 3 times as many servings to reach just 1 serving of whole grains.

So to ensure you’re not getting misled, always read the ingredients label and ensure the first grain ingredient, contains the word “whole”.

With “whole grain” being the first grain ingredient listed, it’s more likely to be a healthier product.

If the ingredients list shows “wheat”, the product contains the less nutrient rich version of white flour.

#2. Made with 100% real fruit

Be aware that some of these products may only contain small amounts of real fruit, or simply fruit juice or fruit puree.

According to nutrition label claims, fruit juice and fruit puree can still be considered fruit.

However, depending on the processing of the fruit juice and fruit puree, the healthy parts of the fruit, including the fiber, and potentially the vitamins and minerals, may be eliminated.

Therefore you are essentially left with more added sugar, without all the nutrients.

Plus, these fruit snacks may still contain artificial fruit flavors to add more sweetness to the product.

If you want fruit, stick to eating real fruit.

#3. Trans fat free

To me, trans fat free should mean it is free of trans fat.

Makes sense right?

Well, not in the food manufacturing industry.

Nutrition labels can claim to be trans fat free as long as the product contains 0.5g or less of trans fat per serving.

So think about it.

If you are eating 4 times the serving size of a “trans fat free” pie, you could still be consuming 2 grams of trans fat.

Your heart is now pissed at you.

#4. Contains (insert superfood ingredient here)

Sometimes food manufacturers promote that their product contain superfood ingredients.

However, these products often times contain such low dosages of these superfood ingredients, that they won’t have any positive impact on your body.

This is often an issue in the supplement industry where formulators make proprietary blends containing the latest superfood.

By calling it a proprietary blend, they don’t have to tell you how much is in it.

Know your numbers.

#5. No added MSG

MSG is an additive that can increase the taste of some foods.

When over consumed, it may also lead to certain health risks.

So when manufacturers add “No MSG” or “No Added MSG”, it can mislead people into thinking there is no MSG in the product.

However, the manufacturer may not have directly add MSG to the product, MSG may be found in other ingredients that are found in the product.

Confused?

So am I.

Bottom line on misleading nutrition label claims

These were just 5 misleading nutrition label claims.

I did an episode called 7 confusing food labels decoded where I covered more nutrition label claims to watch out for.

So in conclusion, it’s important that you always do your own research.

Focus on reading the nutrition facts label and the ingredients list very carefully.

They are much more important to tell the truth versus the big bolded headlines on the front of the labels.

Busting 5 Misleading Nutrition Label Claims

The FDA has been slowly increasing their regulations.

However, as consumers, we have to be aware that there’s more to it than just policing businesses.

These food manufacturers are billion dollar companies.

This means they have a lot of power when it comes to special interest groups and the decisions your government makes.

So take the control back of your health by educating yourself and your family.

Your health is your responsibility.

It’s not the government or your doctor.

It’s you.

Stick to real, whole foods such as:

  • organic grass fed meat
  • free range poultry
  • wild fish
  • organic fruits and vegetables
  • nuts and seeds

This is the fuel your body thrives on.

So make it a priority in your life.

Go subscribe to our Live Lean TV YouTube channel.

Thanks for watching and keep Living Lean.


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Brad Gouthro is the founder of Live Lean TV, a media company focused on helping men and women “Live Lean” 365 days a year. Brad’s programs and content have helped millions of people all over the world learn how to get in shape, and more importantly, sustain it for life.

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