How to make sense of food labelling and not be fooled!
It can be tricky reading food labels nowadays.
Marketers like it that way because if it's harder for you, the consumer, to understand, the more likely it will be that you'll buy their products.
It doesn't help that the food regulation industry is complex and it allows for many misleading terms to be used in product advertising.
I'll try and break things down for you in this article.
Ignore anything you see on the front of food packaging.
The first thing you see on food packaging is basically an advertisement designed to draw you in and it's often misleading.
You'll often see terms on the front such as 'low sugar', 'low fat', 'high protein', 'all natural', 'fresh', 'no artificial flavours'.. none of these terms means that product is necessarily healthy.
Instead, turn the product around and study the ingredient list.
If it has more than 5 ingredients in it, it's probably not a health food.
If it contains oils, sugars and refined grains, then it's not a health food.
Once you've studied the ingredient list and checked the conditions above, then it's your choice whether to make the purchase knowing whether what you're about to buy is a health food or junk food.
Another cheeky thing companies and marketers like to manipulate you with is serving sizes.
You may look at a food item and think to yourself 'wow this only has 100 calories in it per serving' but fail to realise that 'one serving' may be only 1/10th of the product weight which can turn out to be a very very small amount of the product.
There's very little chance of you having that 1/10th of the product, with it being more like half the packet instead.
The marketers know this but they use these tiny serving sizes on their packaging to manipulate you into thinking what you're eating has fewer calories in it.
So check the serving sizes!
Food Marketers love to dress up the word 'sugar'..
Beet sugar, brown sugar, cane sugar, coconut sugar, date sugar, golden sugar, invert sugar, muscovado sugar, organic raw sugar, evaporated cane juice, carob syrup, golden syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, agave nectar, maple syrup, rice syrup, molasses, fructose fruit juice concentrate, glucose, maltodextrin.. IT'S ALL JUST SUGAR.
So a quick recap:
1. If it has more than 5 ingredients in it, it's probably not a health food.
2. Check the serving sizes are realistic and the food marketers aren't trying to manipulate you.
2. Sugar is sugar no matter how the marketers want to dress it up so be aware of these terms.