When everything you touch in the supermarket claims to be beneficial to your health (even if it's made out of pure chocolate) it's hard to know what to believe and what to take with a massive pinch of salt.
Here are some common front of label claims and what they really mean when you get down to the finer details...
Although anything that contains grain automatically appears to be healthy, all multigrain means is it contains different types of grains - it doesn't say what percentage of these grains make up the whole product. Unless the label says wholegrains, the multigrain aspect is probably just processed and refined grains that aren't as healthy.
The same goes for a product that says 'made with whole wheat'. How do you know it's not just one to two percent whole wheat and the rest is processed multigrains. Always check the back of the packet for more detailed information.
From this phrase you might assume you are getting something pure with nothing artificial. Wrong. This misleading claim to fame is questionable the Food and Drug Administration doesn't have an official definition of the word 'natural'. As a result there's nothing stopping manufacturers from using additives and still using '100% Natural' as a selling point.
This probably means that the product is using artificial sweeteners like Aspartamine and Sucralose (which are present in most diet fizzy drinks). However, more and more research is showing that the brain doesn't really distinguish between the fake and the real stuff, which means you're still producing insulin and storing fat.
Legal definitions vary widely and you will often be buying more expensive foods that still contain non-organic ingredients. In general, organic labelling only requires 70% of the product content to be organic, so look for products that claim 100% organic on their front labelling. Or search out USDA Organic foods, which must contain 95% organic ingredients.
Lots of products make these sweeping statements, but there's often a sneaky asterisk pointing out that immunity benefits haven't been verified. For those that say a scientific study supports their claims, it might be worth stepping back and considering who actually funded the study and why. Of course, some food stuffs contain higher levels of vitamins and minerals that others, but don't assume this is the answer to your cold and flu woes.
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