I took an unofficial poll not so long ago. My poll involvolved doctors and lay people. I wanted to see how they interpreted food labels.
Few got it right.
It reminded me of the man who thought his joke was super-funny….but he had to explain it every time he told the joke.
Today I wanted to share with you a great article published by Rodale Press.
|Empty PromisesFeeling misled by labels? Here’s how to decode the confusing claims.
By Matthew G. Kadey, M.Sc., R.D.
From the September 2009 issue of Runner’s World
|What exactly are you getting in your “healthy” box of cereal, bottle of juice, or buttery spread? It’s hard to be sure. Screaming for your attention on most packaged products are ingredient lists, nutrition fact labels (which list calories, fat grams, and other nutrient amounts), health claims (these tie a food to lower disease or health risk), and nutrient claims (such as “low fat” or “high in fiber”).While the FDA and USDA regulate what manufacturers can say on packaging, the intricacies in labeling laws often allow some ambiguous—and in some cases downright misleading—labels and claims. So how can you know if the loaf of multigrain bread you’re holding is worth your cash and calories? Start by learning how to make sense of some of the most frequently used (and abused) lingo.“MULTIGRAIN” BREAD
YOU THINK: It has lots of whole grains
WHAT IT MEANS: “Multigrain” means only that it contains more than one type of grain. The first ingredient in “multigrain” products is often enriched or unbleached wheat flour, which is simply refined white flour with a few nutrients pumped back in. “Refining strips wheat of its fiber-rich bran and germ, which contain valuable nutrients for runners, including zinc and selenium,” says Monique Ryan, R. D., author of Sports Nutrition for Endurance Athletes.
GET SMART:The first ingredient in the list should be whole. “As in whole wheat, whole oat, or whole-grain brown rice—all have more fiber and phytonutrients than refined grains,” says Ryan. If the package says “100% whole grain,” that’s even better—it contains only whole grains.“ORGANIC” SALMON
YOU THINK: Fish farmed sustainably with no contaminants or pesticides
WHAT IT MEANS: The USDA, which governs organic labeling in the United States, will not certify any seafood as “USDA Organic.” So why is there salmon at your supermarket fish counter labeled organic? Because that salmon was farmed in another country that does allow the organic label, says Tim Fitzgerald, a marine scientist with the Environmental Defense Fund. But many of these countries, such as Scotland and Ireland, leave the certification process to private organizations. “Organic fish farms abroad might be greener than conventional ones,” says Fitzgerald, “but you really can’t be sure since guidelines can vary greatly.”
GET SMART: Organic farmed salmon can cost 50 percent more than regular farmed salmon. Fitzgerald suggests spending the extra dough on highly-regulated wild Alaskan salmon. “Farmed arctic char is also an eco-friendly omega-rich substitute that’s more affordable than organic or Alaskan salmon,” Fitzgerald adds. Check out the Environmental Defense Fund Seafood Selector at edf.org for other seafood choices.
“TRANS-FAT FREE” SPREAD
RASPBERRY ACAI “100% JUICE”
Lost in Translation
Phrases that stump even savvy shoppers
Light or Lite
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