The Biggest Lies of the “Health Food” Industry

There is no decency in the way junk food companies do their marketing. Often labelling what is actually junk food as a healthier alternative.

All they care about is profit and they seem willing to sacrifice our health for their own monetary gain.

I’m going to run you through the different marketing pitches and the hidden truths behind them:

Low-Fat or Fat-Free

One of the side effects following the fad low fat diets was an influx of processed products with reduced amounts of fat.

These products typically have labels saying "low-fat," "reduced fat" or "fat-free."

The problem is that a majority of these products are not healthy at all.

Foods that have had the fat removed from them typically do not taste as good as the full-fat versions. Few people want to eat them. For this reason, food producers load these products with added sugar and other additives.

What this means is that "low-fat" foods are usually much worse than their "regular" full fat counterparts.

Summary: If a product has the words "low-fat" or anything similar on the label, it probably contains added sweeteners. Keep in mind that these processed foods are not necessarily a healthy choice.

Trans Fat-Free

Processed foods often have "trans-fat free" on the label. This doesn't necessarily have to be true.

As long as a product contains fewer than 0.5 grams of trans-fats per serving, they are allowed to put this on the label.

Make sure to check the ingredients list. If the word "hydrogenated" appears anywhere on the label, then it contains trans-fats.

Summary: Avoid everything that contains the word "hydrogenated." Food products labeled trans-fat free may actually contain up to 0.5 grams of trans-fat per serving.

Includes Whole Grains

Over the past few years, consumers have been led to believe that whole grains are among the healthiest foods they can eat.

I agree 100% that whole grains are better than refined grains. That said, processed foods like cereals often claim to include whole grains. The problem is that whole grains aren't always "whole." The grains have been pulverized into very fine flour. Making them a not so whole wholegrain.. They may contain all the ingredients from the grain, but the resistance to quick digestion is lost and these grains might spike your blood sugar just as fast as their refined counterparts.

Summary: Most processed food products containing whole grains aren't really "whole", they've been pulverized into very fine flour and spike blood sugar levels just as fast as their refined grain counterparts.

Gluten-Free

Eating a gluten-free diet is very trendy these days.

Just so we're clear, I fully support a gluten-free diet. There is evidence that in addition to full-blown celiac disease, a proportion of people may be sensitive to gluten or wheat without realising the signs or having ever been diagnosed.

However, processed products labeled as "gluten-free" and made to replace gluten-containing foods are generally not healthy. They are also much more expensive!

These foods are usually made from highly refined, high-glycemic starches, like corn starch, potato starch and tapioca starch, and may also be loaded with sugar.

Eating gluten-free should be about ditching the refined cereals and replacing them with real, whole foods (there’s that word again).

Summary: So-called "gluten-free" products are often loaded with unhealthy ingredients. Avoid them and eat real food instead.

Hidden Sugar

Unfortunately, most people don't read or don’t know how to correctly read, ingredient lists before making a purchase.

On ingredient lists, the components are listed in descending order by amount. If you see sugar in the first few spots, then you know that the product is loaded with sugar.

However, food manufacturers often put different types of sugar in their products. A food may contain sugar, high-fructose corn syrup and evaporated cane juice, which are all different names for the exact same thing, sugar.

This way, they can have some other, healthier-sounding ingredient as number one on the list. Nevertheless, if you were to add up the amounts of these three different types of sugar, sugar would be at the top.

This is a clever way to mask the true amount of refined sugar in processed foods.

Summary: Make sure to check whether a product contains more than one type of sugar. If that’s the case, sugar may really be among the top ingredients.

Calories per Serving

The real calorie and sugar content of products is often hidden by saying that the product is more than one serving.

For example, a manufacturer can decide that a chocolate bar or soda bottle is two servings, even though most people don't stop until they have finished the whole thing.

Food producers can use this to their advantage by saying their products contain only a certain amount of calories per serving.

When reading labels, check the number of servings the product contains. If it contains two servings and there are 200 calories per serving, then the entire thing is 400 calories.

Summary: Make sure to check the number of servings on a label. Multiply the total sugar and calorie content by the number of servings to find the true total amount.

Fruit-Flavoured

Many processed foods have a flavor that sounds natural.

For example, orange-flavored water tastes like oranges. However, there are no actual oranges in there.

The sweet taste is coming from sugar and the orange flavor is coming from artificial chemicals.

Just because a product has the flavor of real food doesn't mean that any of it is actually in there. Blueberry, strawberry, orange, etc. these are often just chemicals designed to taste like the real thing.

Summary: Just because a product has the taste of some natural food does not mean that there is even the slightest trace of that food in the product.

Small Amounts of Healthy Ingredients

Processed products often list small amounts of ingredients that are commonly considered healthy.

This is purely a marketing trick. Usually, the amounts of these nutrients are negligible and do nothing to make up for the harmful effects of the other ingredients.

This way, clever marketers can fool parents into thinking they're making healthy choices for themselves and their children.

Some examples of ingredients often added in tiny amounts and then displayed prominently on the packaging are omega-3s, antioxidants and whole grains.

Summary: Food manufacturers often put small amounts of healthy ingredients in their products to fool people into thinking that the products are healthy.

Low-Carb Junk Foods

Low-carb diets have been pretty popular for the past few decades.

Food manufacturers have caught up on the trend and started offering a variety of low-carb products.

The problem with these foods is the same as with the "low-fat" foods, they're not necessarily healthy.

These are usually processed junk foods filled with unhealthy ingredients. Look at the ingredients list for products like Atkins low-carb bars. This isn't food!

There are also examples of low-carb breads and other replacement products that contain many more carbs than the label claims.

Summary: "Low-carb" products are often highly processed and made with very unhealthy ingredients.

“Organic” Unhealthy Ingredients

Although organic food can have HUGE benefits, many food manufacturers use the word “organic” to mislead people.

For example, when you see “raw organic cane sugar” on an ingredient list, this is basically the exact same thing as regular table sugar.

Just because something is organic does not mean that it is healthy.

Summary: Many foods contain unhealthy ingredients that happen to be organic. This does not mean that they are any healthier than their non-organic counterparts.

The Bottom Line

Of course, it is best to just limit processed foods altogether and eat real, whole foods instead. That way, you don't have to worry about labels and ingredient lists.

Real food doesn't even need an ingredients list. Real food IS the ingredient.

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