How to Tell When Foods Might Be Lying About Their Worth

Photo: General Mills

Photo: General Mills

When it comes to food labeling and advertising, some terms carry more weight than others. Care 2 calls out five commonly used buzzwords in the food and drink industry, warning us to read between the lines when they are used to describe a particular product.

Based on the 2013 index published by Leanwashing—a watchdog organization that calls out misleading advertising about health benefits—Care 2’s list points out some common tactics used to convince consumers of health and/or ecological benefits that might not really exist.

  • Natural: This term is open-ended and vague practice, with no real legal or nutritional definition in place.
  • Made With: This phrase is often deployed to divert attention away from other ingredients that are unhealthy.
  • Whole Grains: To assess the real nutritional value of a product, you need to view it in its entirety. Take Lucky Charms for instance. Whatever nutritional value is provided by the whole-grain cereal is likely negated by the rainbow marshmallows.
  • Light: “Foods marketed and labeled as light are usually more processed than the original versions they are meant to stand in for.”
  • 100 Calorie: Instead of being a healthy choice, this umbrella snack category provides little nutritional value, according to the Leanwashing Index.

[via Care 2]

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