Food myths and Food Lies

Watch out for diet food myths and food lies

Health food label

Keep your eyes peeled to avoid food myths because food advertising lies are almost the norm. So, you're on yet another diet or even if you aren't, you're busy scanning those shelves for all the diet foods.

You just 'know' that anything that's diet must be better for you - right? You just know that's what you should be eating - right? Well not so fast - let's turn sleuth and investigate.

The fat and sugar food myth

Most low calorie products are just another calorie con.

Yet sales of products like low-fat and sugar-free items have been growing exponentially, mainly in highly processed snack type foods.

With low-fat or fat-free products, while manufacturers reduce the fat, they bump up the sugar in order to enhance the flavor lost by removing the fat. On the flip side, for sugar-free products, fat is usually added to make up the flavor lost by removing the sugar. They tell you what you lose and apparently gain....but they don't tell you the whole truth. Food marketers lie by omission.

This for me, has been a really good reason to ditch diets and their related food-stuffs that I can't trust.

Just because it has 'low fat' or 'sugar-free' emblazoned on the packaging does not make it low in calories. Beware of this misleading packaging. Besides the way reporting of food contents go, it's all too easy to hide just how much or what kinds of fats and sugars are in food.

You see when marketers break sugars down into different type sugars, we don't usually stop to add them all together to see what the total sugar content is. And in many countries the way food labels work is that ingredients are listed in order of % of that ingrendient from highest to lowest. So it's easy to forget that 'carbohydrate,' 'fructose,' 'sucrose' are all really sugars in various forms. But when you split them up in this way, one of the food myths sold to us is that an item doesn't have that much sugar.

The health food lie

Just because something is marketed as a ‘health food’ doesn’t necessarily mean it is. Don’t take what diet food manufacturers say as gospel. Here’s yet another reason not to fall for food lies:

diet food label

In 2006, Australian health authorities undertook the first serious analysis of nutrition labels and found that of the over 70 products tested, 84% of labels were incorrect on at least one nutrient.

Incorrect labeling promotes food lies big time! How are we as consumers meant to trust what we see when research like this show us just how many food lies even 'official' labels contain.

• Products claiming to be low in sodium or fat were more likely to have incorrect information. Of the low-fat of low-calorie products - 19% exceeded the fat content listed, and two-thirds had more calories than listed.

• One-third exceeded the sugar content listed. One product (an unnamed brand of chips) had a trans-fat level that was 13 times higher than listed! Another product (also unnamed) had 3 times as many calories as listed.

So if you bought into the label you were taken in hook, line and sinker by food lies and information that intentionally perpetuates food myths. But don't feel alone - it's easy to think that if something is in writing, it's accurate.

Here's REAL food

'Real' food looks alive, vibrant and healthy. When you see it, it makes your body sing! And it doesn't come in boxes with colorful advertising and it doesn't promote myths - like the all famous breakfast myths.

PS... don't miss out on a really fabulous green eating guide if you have children. This fun way to teach your children to eat healthily will minimize food fights and help you raise healthy children who eat well.

The 'all fat is bad' myth

In the past, as if the ever-changing landscape of what is good and what is bad, the American Heart Association (AHA) guidelines called for no more than 30% fat in food. However that was revisted in the 2000's - now their isn't a restriction on how much fat, the guideline instead is to avoid trans fats.

However, we certainly haven't seen that reflected in the number of low fat, no fat products on our shelves. We need fat in both our food and our bodies for them to function properly.

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