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Sneaky Tricks Brands Use to Create Deceiving Food Labels

So, you’re trying to get healthier and you’re probably paying closer attention to what you eat.

Most people know the basics. They know that they should buy more fresh fruits and vegetables.

And last week we talked about clean eating (you can check out that blog post here).

But when it comes to reading food labels, you may be wondering where to start! And I have definitely been there, standing in the aisle holding up a can or box, feeling overwhelmed and questioning why the grocery store just can’t have all real food instead of a bunch of ingredients that seem to be in another language.

And to make matters worse many companies label their foods in a misleading way!

The more you understand what labels really mean, the better you'll be able to make healthy choices.

So lets have a look at at some of the most common MISLEADING labels out there.


All Natural

Unfortunately, this phrase has almost no meaning but it is used all the time. When you buy it you think that it means that it hasn’t been changed.

All it really means is that there have been no “synthetic substances,” artificial flavoring or colors added.

The food may still have salt or other ingredients added, including high fructose corn syrup. NOTE sugar being the second ingredient on the beef jerkey above.



Many people think that multigrain is the same as whole grain, but it is not.

Whole grains have more fiber and nutrition. Look for foods marked whole grain.

That being said watch out for this one too:

MORE whole grain than any other ingredient ....

In case you didn't know, ingredients are listed by weight/amount. So yes, the first ingredient is whole grain oats. But the second AND third AND fifth, are SUGAR.


Sugar Free or No sugar added

Foods don’t need to have sugar added to contain too much sugar.

Any food that has natural sugars can raise your blood sugar.

It can also have artificial sweeteners or carbohydrates added.

These crack me up - I mean really "sugar free OREOs" ....

Lets check the ingredients:

Number one - Maltitol. A sugar alcohol. Artificial sweetener.

Also on the list we have acesulfame potassium and Sucralose. More artificial sweeteners.


Free range

We’ve all heard that “free range” chickens have more nutrients than caged chickens. But “free range” doesn’t always mean what you think it does.

There are no rules to say how much time an animal spends out of a cage to be called “free range.” All it means is that they have some outdoor exposure.



Just like with sugar-free foods, don’t make the mistake of thinking that a food that is free of fat won’t make you gain weight.

When you remove the fat they need to replace it with something else to make it taste good.

It can have lots of sugar and other chemicals that help you feel satiated when the fat is missing.

Checking the ingredients of this 99% "fat-free" yogurt shows:

1 container has a crazy 36 grams of carbs and 29 grams of sugar. & only 5 grams of protein. Hmmmm I would take a little fat over all that sugar any day!



Have you ever bought food that is marked “lite” and thought that it was better for you?

Unfortunately, food makers are allowed to use that term to describe the flavor.

The only way to be sure is to read the nutritional information on the label.


Never take labeling on box fronts at face value. ALWAYS check the actual ingredients! Remember ingredients are listed by weight/amount. So if sugar is one of the first 3 ingredients just stay away!

I hope that helps! And if it did please share this post with others.

Comment below with any other misleading labels you have seen.



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