Today’s seriously deceptive food marketing means that reading front labels and nutritional labels isn’t enough. To avoid choosing seriously deceiving “healthy foods,” consumers need to be aware of culprits listed in the ingredients.
My son and I found this out the hard way a few months ago when we were at a local health foods store. I had to tell him that a food company was trying to mislead consumers and that in fact, the word GMO circled with a red slash across it didn’t actually mean that a food was GMO-free. Upon closer examination, the label read that only the legumes, grains, and vegetables were GMO-free and in reality, the product wasn’t GMO-free at all.
Deceiving marketing like this has gotten all the more vicious as consumers become more and more motivated to choose healthy foods. But knowledge is power, it’s the one tool that we as consumers, and health advocates, have to fight back. Here are three deceiving packaged foods that I recently found on the store shelf.
1. Vegetable Thins
The name itself is likely the most deceiving part. No, these aren’t vegetables that have been slow baked in the oven. Rather, these are GMO-laden crackers baked with a few dried vegetables, and a couple of Scary Seven ingredients. The front label says that these crackers are trans fat free, baked with real vegetables, low in saturated fats, and cholesterol free. But here’s what the label doesn’t say it contains:
- Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
- Sulphites (a preservative)
- Potential GMOS
Here is a full list of the ingredients:
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
Used to enhance flavor in foods, MSG is one of the most complained about additives. Common symptoms related to ingesting MSG include: Headaches, chest pains, heart palpitations, sweating, fatigue, and blurred vision to name a few. A more detailed list of MSG’s side effects are below.
There are hidden names for MSG that you need to watch out for if you are sensitive to it, including those listed above in the ingredients like hydrolyzed proteins and disodium guanylate. You can access our full list here: Hidden names for MSG.
Sulphites (AKA as sulfites, sodium sulfite, sulfur dioxide, sodium and potassium bisulfite, sodium and potassium metabisulfite)
These can occur naturally in foods or be added to prevent spoilage. Sulfites destroy thiamine (vitamin B1), and are thought to destroy folic acid, another B vitamin. They have been associated with a full range of food intolerance symptoms, including headaches, irritable bowel symptoms, behavior disturbances, and skin rashes.
Vegetable Thins contain soybean oil, which unless it’s organic, is almost certainly GMO. These potential GMOs are linked to allergies, cancerous tumors in rats, and other health hazards. Major sources of potential GMOs include canola, corn, soy, sugar beets, and cotton.
2. Fruit Krisps
Again, when you think of a fruit crisp (regardless of the spelling), you envision a piece of fruit that’s been dried into a semi sweet treat. Not so fast. While the front label reads that Fruit Krisps are a “sensible solution,” a good source of fiber, baked with whole grains, no artificial colors or flavors, no trans fats, and low in saturated fats, here’s what they don’t say it also has:
- Trans fats
- Potential GMOS
Here is its full ingredient list:
You might be wondering why I just told you that the front of the package claims Fruit Krisps does NOT contain any trans fats. However, while the label may read trans fat free, don’t be fooled. This snack food contains shortening, a dead giveaway for trans fats. Food manufacturers are allowed to state zero grams of trans fats when trans fats are listed in the ingredients because of a label loophole that allows companies to write “0 trans fat” on the Nutrition Facts Panel if there is less than 0.5 grams per serving in the U.S. and 0.2 grams per serving in Canada. I repeat, PER SERVING!
The good news is, this might be changing. The FDA recently announced it is proposing to remove all trans fats from packaged foods. Read the full article: FDA Proposes Ban on All Artificial Trans Fats.
Fruit Krisps contain soybean oil and soy lecithin, which are almost certainly made from GMO soy. Especially considering that in the U.S., 85 percent of the soy harvest is GMO.
Watch our video on trans fats here: http:// bit.ly/1fXpinF.
3. Chicken Noodle Soup
Healthy and nourishing, right? Wrong. Unfortunately, this isn’t yours, or your grandmother’s chicken soup. It’s laced with MSG and artificial junk. Let’s take a closer look. As you can see above, this chicken noodle soup contains:
- Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
- Artificial Colors
- Artificial Flavors
- Potential GMOs
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
As mentioned above, Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) is on our Scary Seven list of ingredients to avoid. In addition to all of its nasty side effects, it also stimulates the taste buds causing us to eat more.
This highly processed chicken soup contains tartrazane or Yellow 5. Yellow 5 has been linked to learning and concentration disorders in children. We talk a lot about artificial colors on this site because as a mom of three, they are my nemesis. You can read my article on how my two year old had a meltdown over ice cream toppings with artificial dyes. It’s certainly not something you want to feed your little ones.
The words “artificial flavors” are a blanket term for a laundry list of petroleum derived man-made chemicals. That can lawfully be added to foods but potential side effects include allergies and headaches.
Picking out healthy foods for your family isn’t easy with so many seriously deceiving choices on the market but all of our books can be a great help in guiding you to make healthier choices. If you have any questions about particular food choices, feel free to leave them in the comments below.