Beware of These "Food" Label Claims

by Kelly DuBois

Packaged foods are almost never a good idea. Ultimately we should be eating organic vegetables, grassfed, pastured meats, wild caught fish, healthy fats, healthy starches, small amounts of organic berries and if tolerated well, small amounts of nuts.  All of the above are nutrient dense, real foods that are low in antinutrients or toxins.  These foods provide energy, promote health and sustain life which is the true definition of "FOOD".  Much of what is eaten today and termed "food" does the exact opposite, draining energy and promoting disease.  These "foods" usually come in a package or box. If and when packaged foods are the only choice, it's important that we understand how to make the best possible choices.  Here are 5 food label claims to beware of:

Food manufacturers are aware that consumers are becoming more and more educated on what is healthy and what is not which is why they use health buzz words like "No Trans Fats".  Unfortunately the FDA allows for labeling loopholes.  Current law requires that products with less than five grams be listed in 0.5 gram increments and lower than 0.5 grams as containing zero grams of fat.  This means that if a product has 0.49 grams of trans fat, the label can list the trans fat content as zero.  It's easy enough for a product to size down the serving size in order to stamp itself with the health buzz word, "No Trans Fat".  Look at the ingredient list.  If a product has hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil, then it has trans fat.

It's a well known fact that MSG is something we should not be consuming which is why so many products are labelled "No Msg".  Many packaged and canned products that are labeled "No MSG" contain MSG like substances.  The molecular structure is not exactly the same, but they cause the same side effects.  They are MSG hiding under different names.

These are the most common:

- Yeast extract

- Natural Flavoring

- Calcium Caseinate

- Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein

- Textured Protein

- Hydrolyzed Plant Protein

- Autolyzed Plant Protein

When you start looking at ingredient lists, you'll see these are in just about everything.  Avoid soups and sauces in restaurants and if you buy anything in a box, can or package, read the ingredient list. 

Milk cartons will sometimes put the words "no added hormones" on their front panel. Of course this implies that other cartons of milk DO have added hormones and the "hormone free" version would be a better choice. Here's the kicker, NO milk has added hormones. Dairy producers don't add hormones to the milk, but it has become common practice to inject recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH) into the dairy cows.  This hormone stimulates increased milk production.  It also makes the cows very sick with mastitis (infection of the udders).  The infection is treated by pumping the poor cows full of antibiotics.  When we drink this milk, we are ingesting the rBGH and the antibiotics.  If dairy is your thing and you tolerate lactose, choose raw organic.

Companies can buy the right to put the "Heart Healthy" label on their products for only $7400.  The crazy thing about this is that the majority of products sporting this label are processed grain products.  Processed grain products promote inflammation and Inflammation leads to heart disease along with all other chronic disease.

You'll find pastas, vegetable oils, and rice labeled "No Cholesterol." That creates a perception that a given food is healthier than the brand sitting next to it on the shelf, but pastas, vegetable oils, and rice NEVER contain cholesterol.  And these are some of the foods that actually promote systemic inflammation. Inflammation is the common denominator in nearly all of the diseases we deal with, including heart disease, autoimmune disease, cancer and neurodegenerative disease.   Cholesterol is found in animal products 

Fun Fact: There has NEVER been a connection between dietary cholesterol and heart disease. The myth was built on flawed research and perpetuated by the billion $ Cholesterol lowering drug industry. Cholesterol is essential for building healthy cell membranes and hormones. Inflammation is what causes heart disease and cholesterol shows up to soothe the inflammation.  Blaming cholesterol on heart disease is like blaming the fire truck that shows up to put out the fire on starting the fire.