Roughly 44% of Americans are skeptical of the health claims food labels provide. If you didn’t know better, you could walk into the grocery store and expect that everything in it is good for you. Company after company will use any verbiage, color, phrase, anything to get you to buy their products. Of course, there are companies out there with integrity, who are relaying the right information, but there is a handful that is just trying to make an extra buck. Let’s chat about a few words companies use on their packaging that just aren’t true.

Grass-Fed 

When you think of grass-fed beef, you think of cows roaming large grass fields, with a possible water feature nearby in a tranquil environment. When the company labels their beef grass-fed, this just means the cow could have eaten grass one day of its life, and it can still pass as grass-fed. When you’re looking for something completely grass-fed you need to find a label that says “100% grass-fed or grass-fed since birth”. The wording might be different, but as long as it indicates to you that the cow has been only eating grass, and no harmful pushing growth foods, you will be good to go. 

No Added Sugar

This can lead you to believe the food is either sugar-free or healthier for you. In reality, this means it either has tones of artificial sweeteners or it is a food that has enough natural sugar on its own that it doesn’t need any more sugar. When you’re looking for something with less or little to no sugar you need to learn the ingredients list and understand different types of artificial sweeteners here are the top three:

Sucralose,

Aspartame

acesulfame potassium

There are tons of different names for sugars, here is a huge list of 56 names for sugar. This list can be overwhelming, but just starting slow and taking it label by the label can be very helpful. Ideally, you want natural sugars such as:

Sugars directly from fruit sources

Honey

Molasses

Agave Nectar,

Maple Syrup 

Stevia 

Monk fruit

High-Protein

You’re lacking protein, you need more, so you try and eat more foods that say “high protein” on the label, and you think you’re helping yourself. We hate to break it to you…you aren’t. If it isn’t a whole food source that would naturally have lots of protein like eggs, meat, or dairy, the product will be chock-full of concentrated proteins. Concentrated proteins include ingredients like soy or whey. Also, many times a food like boxed Macaroni & Cheese will say “high protein” to fool parents into thinking it is a high-quality choice for their child. In reality, it might be a highly processed food, containing artificial colors, high carbohydrates, and fat. 

Cage-Free & Pasture Raised 

This refers to the amount of space that hens have to roam within their caged environments. Cage-free is the amount of space they have within an enclosed area, whereas pasture-raised means they are often kept within cages in a pasture. Looking at the amount of space that the hens are provided is generally on every label. Some companies strive off having a clean and natural environment for the hens, like happy egg, read all about them here! 

Trans Fat-Free

There’s nothing in there that will clog you up, but the title can mean that there actually could be trans fat in there. If the word “partially hydrogenated” is a part of the ingredients list, the fats are still hiding in there. You need to be reading the labels and understanding for yourself exactly what is inside your food products. If you don’t know what a particular ingredient is, just do a quick google search to educate yourself!

We hope these five tips help you the next time you head to the grocery store and want to pick up a few items. Read the labels and educate yourself about what is going into your body and how it is being affected by these items. At TriFIT Wellness we focus on a holistic nutrition approach and give you the tools to create a healthy eating lifestyle from the ground up, contact us today to learn more.