Misleading Labels On Foods

By: Janet Hunt
The other day, I pulled out some small center cut pork chops for dinner. As I was cutting open the package, I started reading the nutrition label. The first thing I read was each serving was 140 calories. Since I am a calorie counter, I thought “wow – not bad.” Then I put my “let’s be real” hat on and took another look. The label said there were 8 servings in the container, but I saw only four small pork chops. This is a great example of misleading the consumer. If the producer thought there was 8 servings, then each pork chop should be cut in half!

As an ACE Certified Health Coach, I teach Weight Management classes. One of the favorite class topics is on food labels. I am always amazed at how producers and manufacturers mislead consumers and how many consumers do not read the labels thoroughly. Besides the pork chop package, let’s look a few other misleading labels.

Another good example related to serving size is pork and beans. On a regular 16 oz. can, the manufacturer claims the number of servings in the can is 3 ½. That is pretty darn small when you compare it to a serving size of beans at a typical BBQ restaurant. Be wary! You might need to do some math to get the real number of calories for what you are eating.

How about “multi-grain”? It means nothing! You could stuff every grain in the world into a single loaf of bread—but if they’re not whole grain, they’re not worth your time. Dense multigrain breads are often packed with sugar. Check the ingredients list for only whole grain flours and make sure there’s less than 2 grams of sugar per slice.

Another is “wheat” bread. Again it means nothing unless the label says whole wheat. Heck! Old fashioned white bread is made with wheat flour. If the first, second or even third ingredient says “enriched” wheat flour, then you are getting duped if you are trying to eat healthy.

How about sea salt? I was recently at someone’s house and they were bragging that they only purchased sea salt. Why? It’s a complete myth that sea salt is healthier than table salt. Both have the same amount sodium. Plus, table salt supplies iodine, a nutrient that’s necessary for thyroid health—and sea salt does not. Choose sea salt if you like the coarse texture, not because it’s “healthier” or more “natural.”

As I have said before: READ THE LABEL and DO YOUR RESEARCH! Manufacturers are in the business to sell you their products!

For more information on nutrition labels, contact Janet Hunt, ACE certified Health Coach at jhunt9155@gmail.com or a dietician.
By: Janet Hunt
Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530 to schedule an appointment.