Apparently, when it comes to food labels, even the word “no” doesn’t mean no. Behind-the-scenes, lawmakers institute lackadaisical labeling laws, which allow food manufacturers to basically lie, change the English language, and manipulate the public.
1.“TRANS FATS FREE” BUTTERY SPREAD IS NOT TRANS FAT FREE
There are companies that have the words “No Trans Fats” or “Trans Fat Free” in big fancy letters on the front label of their product. They are obviously trying to tell people that trans fats are not good for humans to eat as a healthy food. However, if you spin the package around and check the ingredient label on the back, you will still find “partially hydrogenated fat” listed. This is because companies take advantage of food labeling laws that say you can call your product “free” of a particular ingredient if it has less than a half a gram per serving. If you just make the serving size listed on the nutritional facts label small enough, you can call anything trans fat free!
Ingredients: Vegetable oil, water, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, whey, salt, soy lecithin, potassium sorbate, citric acid, artificial flavor, vitamin A, colored with beta carotene.
2. CEREAL LIARS: MANIPULATE THE SERVING SIZE TO LOWER THE CARBOHYDRATES
By lowering the serving size on the honey nut version, the cereal manufacturer is able to show comparable amounts of carbohydrates without shying people away. If this cereal had the correct serving size listed, the total amount of carbohydrates would state 30 grams.
3. SUGAR FREE DOES NOT MEAN CARBOHYDRATE FREE
Although sugar alcohols are classified as a carbohydrate source, food manufacturers do not consider them to be a carbohydrates on a food label. The following is an example of a “sugar-free” candy bar that replaces sugar with the sugar alcohols isomalt and maltitol. The type of carbohydrate contained in this candy bar, polydextrose, is an extremely fast absorbing carbohydrate. Since polydextrose is not a “simple” sugar (one or two units of sugar), this another reason to call the product “sugar free.” Food labels can throw people off by listing the scientific names for sugar. Other names for sugar that are commonly seen in food products are barley malt, maltodextrine, dextrin, corn starch, corn sweetener, high fructose corn syrup, sucrose (table sugar), maltose, dextrose and most other “ose” ending words.
Ingredients: Isomalt, maltitol, roasted peanuts, cocoa butter, chocolate, partially defatted peanut flour, vegetable oil (palm kernel and hydrogenated palm), polyglycitol syrup, sodium caseinate, and less than 2% or milkfat, peanut oil, soy lecithin, egg whites, dl-alpha tocopherol acetate (to preserve freshness), glycerin, polydextrose, mono-and diglycerides, salt, butter, corn syrup solids, modified food starch, guar gum, artificial and natural flavors, TBHQ and citric acid (to preserve freshness), sucralose, caramel color.
Maltitol (2.1 calories per gram): Maltitol is made by the hydrogenation (chemical manipulation) of maltose (a simple sugar). Maltitol is used in sweet foods including sugarless hard candies, ice creams, chewing gum, and chocolate.
Isomalt (2 calories per gram): Isolmalt is a sugar alcohol that is manufactured from table sugar and often found in candy, cough drops, lollipops, and wafers. Isomalt is only partially digested by humans and the rest is metabolized by the bacteria in the large intestines, which contributes to gas and watery bowels.
4. “SUGAR FREE” RASPBERRY PRESERVES IS HIGH IN COMPLEX SUGARS
The manufacturer of sugar-free raspberry preserves replaces the simple sugars with complex carbohydrates like polydextrose and maltodextrine. Since these carbohydrates are longer than 2 glucose units, they are not considered a type of “sugar.” This can be misleading due to the fact these sugars absorb much faster than fructose, which is one of the naturally occurring sugars contained in raspberries. Polydextrose and maltodextrine are easily broken apart by the digestive system into pure glucose which rapidly absorbs into the bloodstream. The primary relevance carbohydrates have in regards to human nutrition is not the type of sugar, but the rate by which they absorb into the bloodstream (i.e. glycemic index).
Ingredients: Water, raspberry preserves, polydextrose, maltodextrine, fruit pectin, locus bean gum, natural flavor, citric acid, aspartame, potassium sorbate, calcium chloride, red # 40, blue # 1.