Be Wary of These Top 5 Label Claims

I attribute my knowledge of gluten, GMO’s, fair-trade, and Monsanto to my experience attending college at an eco-friendly, health-cautious school in the city of Bellingham, Washington. It has expanded my understanding of the food I consume, and has also taught me to be wary of these top five label claims discussed on the Food Network. If you had asked me five years ago what the term, ‘Gluten Free’ meant, what was considered ‘Natural Food,’ or what I felt should be considered, ‘Good Food,’ I would have not been able to provide you an answer. With knowledge, comes power. I do not mean power in the sense of controlling others, but rather, it gives you the power to choose quality food to put in your body and the power to be an advocate for others.

It seems that as the understanding of the terms, “Gluten Free” and “non-GMO” is becoming more wide-spread, many are beginning to purchases foods that are stamped with foods that say, “Cholesterol Free,” “Trans-Fat free,” and “Natural.” We see a sign that says it is somehow healthier, and therefore, we purchase it and consume it because we feel that we are feeding ourselves foods that promote a healthy lifestyle. If the box says it is healthier for us, why not eat it? We may have basic knowledge of fats from biology class, such as “trans-fat” being what is often labeled the, “bad fat,” but we are only focusing on one label. What about the sugar, the added ingredients, the carbohydrates? Just because a label screams “natural” does not mean that it cannot cause you to gain wait or that it can’t harm your heart.

Another popular claim is that of Omega 3 being in the food. Foods that contain Omega 3 fats are very high in demand because they are important fatty acids that help to promote memory, immunity, heart health, skin health and vision health. When it comes to Omega 3 oils it's important to get the details right. The EPH and DHA form of Omega 3 fats are the fats associated with those benefits, while another common ALA form has less powerful qualities. So when you want to check foods very carefully to see which type of Omega-3 fats they offer, and know exactly what you are getting when you purchase a food that claims to be rich in Omega 3 oils, you want to know exactly what those oils are.

So what can be learned from such an article? Well, first, it is important that you do not take a label at face value. Anything can have a label on it. Second, do not just focus on the label. Just because it doesn’t have trans-fat does not mean that it is healthy for you. Lastly, know your body, what you need each day to stay healthy, and what are all the ingredients that are in the food you are consuming. Remember, knowledge is power. Once you understand your body and what it needs to thrive, you can begin making better decisions about what you eat.

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