Does This Claim Mean It Will Help Me Lose Weight?
It has actually been shown in research that adding health claims makes people believe a product is healthier than the same product that doesn’t list health claims. Don’t be duped! Here are a list of eye-catching labeling that may not be what they seem to be.
Light: Light products are processed to reduce either calories or fat. With less fat, the product does not taste as good and it’s common to add thickeners, artificial flavors, or other potentially unwanted ingredients, in order to compensate for the loss of flavor. Interestingly, studies have shown that consumers who eat “light” food items will actually consume more than if they had stuck with the regular version of the product.
Natural: Many people think that, if something says “all natural”, that it is a healthy food. This is a common mistake that a lot of companies are counting on consumers to make in order to sell more product at a higher price. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), responsible for regulating and supervising food production, does not even define or regulate the use of the label “natural” on food products. Instead, the FDA’s official policy is that “the agency has not objected to the use of the term if the food does not contain added color, artificial flavors, or synthetic substances”. This is a vague policy that leaves interpretation of “natural” largely up to the food industry.
Don’t believe me? Just take the time to look in your grocery store. You will find “natural” on a bag of Cheetos, potato chips and even goldfish! What is natural about any of those? Absolutely nothing. When it comes to weight loss, whether a packaged food says “natural” or not, doesn’t change the fact that it has the same amount of calories, fat and sugar. Always look at the label.
Organic: A label can include the word “organic” if the product contains a minimum of 95 percent organic ingredients. Let’s be honest, OK it is great that these products contain 95% organic ingredients, but what is the value in terms of weight loss? Organic does not automatically equal healthy! Organic sugar is still sugar. Organic potato chips are still potato chips. Simply adding organic doesn’t make the total calories, fat and sugar disappear.
No added sugar: If a product already has 30g of sugar, and the product says no added sugar, guess what? It still has 30g of sugar. Make sure you look at the sugar content as some people confuse this with “no sugar” period.
Low-calorie: Low-calorie products have to contain 1/3 fewer calories than the same brand’s original product. However, one brand’s low-calorie version may contain similar calories as the original of another product.
Low-fat: This label almost always means that the fat has been reduced at the expense of adding more sugar. It is common that these foods are less satisfying than their full- fat counterparts and actually lead to you eating more calories.
Gluten-free: This does not equal healthy! It simply means that the product doesn’t contain wheat, spelt, rye or barley. There is a huge misconception that the gluten-free diet is beneficial for weight loss, or is a “healthier” diet for the general population. These claims are unsupported. The gluten-free diet is healthier for people with gluten-related disorders, but there is no evidence that it is beneficial for people who do not have these conditions. In fact, people may actually experience a reduction in diet quality, since
many gluten-free processed foods are lower in fiber, vitamins and minerals than their gluten-containing counterparts. Gluten-free diet may be higher in calories, since many processed gluten-free foods contain higher levels of fat and/or sugar to compensate for flavor and texture changes which result from the removal of gluten.
Fruit-flavored: Many processed foods have a name that refers to a natural flavor, such as strawberry yogurt. However, there may not be any fruit in the product, only chemicals designed to taste like fruit.