Health

What Food Labels Really Mean

It can sometimes be difficult to know which food is healthy and which is not. We often go to the store with the intention of eating healthily but end up with a trolley full of half junk. This infographic from HappyCleans takes you through what many of the most common food labels you see at the store really mean. The reality is that they can be very misleading terms and while some of them do help us make good purchasing decisions but others are more marketing ploys than anything else.

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Health claims on labels help sell $377 billion worth of food items every year so it’s clear that food companies understand their value. For example, let’s look at the words natural and organic as many believe these are pretty much the same thing but they in fact are very different. The word natural actually means very little as any guidelines associated with the term are only recommended. Its organic foods you should look to buy as these must contain at least 95% organically produced ingredients.

Chicken labels are another interesting area as there are so many different terms we see at the store. For example, we still see the label ‘no added hormones’ on chicken even though it is actually illegal for poultry producers to add hormones to chicken. Don’t pay more money if you see this label. Even egg labels can be a bit misleading and brown eggs have cultivated a reputation as being healthy but egg colour only determines the breed of chicken that laid the egg.

Let’s now move on to bread labels as this can be one of the most confusing aisles at the store. To the untrained eye, a multigrain label might look healthy but the reality is all it means is that the bread contains more than one grain it does not mean it is healthier. The bread you should look to buy is 100% whole grain as that means every nutrient in the grain is accounted for in the bread.

Another interesting area is snack food labels and in this aisle we often go for light, low-fat, or reduced fat labels as we don’t want to be too unhealthy. It is important to remember that low-fat on high-fat products are still pretty unhealthy so if you are eating these don’t overdo it.

Even when we have products at home, we often overly rely on expiry dates. For example, use-by date isn’t a date of spoilage so it does not indicate whether food is safe to eat or not. It’s best to check if food is expired yourself and not always just put the food in the bin if the date on the label has passed.

Remember that expiry dates indicate a product’s freshness and they in no way indicate if food is safe to eat or not. Check out the full infographic now for more information on food labels so you know what to buy on your next trip to the store. Hopefully you will learn a thing or two from it.

What Food Labels Really Mean IIG