Junk food companies are capable of sacrificing everyone’s health for the sake of profit and they will stop at nothing to promote their products far and wide with, sometimes the most indecent marketing. As we already said, the only thing they do care about is making money no matter what the cost. Below are the top 11 lies junk food companies tell to the general public:
One of the many side effects of the so-called “war on fat” was the widespread purchasing of processed foods with decreased amounts of fat. These products usually have “low-fat”, “reduced fat” or “fat-free” labels on them. The main problem is that the majority of these products aren’t healthy at all. Foods that have been processed in a way that had the fat removed from them usually don’t taste as good as their original full-fat versions, which makes them less edible and less tasty. That’s why food companies fill these foods with lots of sugar and other unhealthy additives.
Modern research has already shown that fat has unfairly gotten a bad rap while at the same time the dangers of added sugar have been revealed. This means that foods that are marketed as “low-fat” are typically much worse for your health than their original version. If you see a product has the “low-fat” label or anything similar to it, it’s very likely it has added sweeteners in it. You should keep in mind that these refined foods aren’t necessarily beneficial to your health.
2. Trans fat-free
Another label commonly found on processed food items is “trans fat-free”. This also might not always be true. The law allows companies to put this label on their product as long as it has fewer than 0.5 grams of trans fats per serving, which means it’s not completely trans fat-free. Always check the nutrition labels. If you find the word “hydrogenated” anywhere on it, then you can be sure the product has trans fats.
Actually, you can find hydrogenated fats in almost any product that is labeled as trans fat-free. The solution is to avoid every product that has the word “hydrogenated” written on it. Food items labeled trans fat-free might actually have up to 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving and you won’t know anything about it.
3. Has whole grains
During the past several decades, people have been mistakenly led to believe that whole grains are in the top 5 healthiest foods they can eat. And even though they are undoubtedly better than processed grains, there’s no solid evidence yet that eating them is healthier than eating no grains at all. That being said, refined foods like cereals are often marketed as containing whole grains. The problem here is that whole grains sometimes aren’t necessarily “whole”. The grains have actually been processed into very fine flour.
Even though they may have all the healthy nutrients from the grain, one very beneficial characteristic they possess, which is resistance to being digested quickly is lost. This, in turn, can cause blood sugar spikes as fast as their refined counterparts do. Additionally, even if a product does have a small quantity of whole grains, it’s likely that it has lots of other harmful ingredients such as sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. The majority of processed foods that are labeled as containing whole grains aren’t actually “whole”. They’ve been ground into very fine flour and trigger spikes in your blood sugar levels the same way refined grains do, which may cause drastic blood sugar levels fluctuations, which translates into mood swings and feelings of lethargy and fatigue.
Being on a gluten-free diet has become very trendy lately. It’s been estimated that approximately 1.5% of Americans are currently on a gluten-free diet or are trying to restrict their gluten intake. A third of those haven’t actually been diagnosed with celiac disease. That’s not to say that there’s something inherently bad about a gluten-free diet. There is solid evidence that in addition to having celiac disease, a certain proportion of people might be sensitive to wheat or gluten. But, refined products that are labeled as “gluten-free” and made to replace the foods containing gluten are generally not that healthy, not to mention they are much more expensive.
These types of foods are usually made from highly processed, high-glycemic starches such as, potato starch, corn starch and tapioca starch and might also be filled with sugar. Being on a gluten-free diet is supposed to be about eliminating the processed cereals and replacing them with healthy, whole foods. Conclusion: So-called “gluten-free” foods are usually filled with unhealthy ingredients. Eliminate them altogether and eat real food.
5. Hidden sugar
It’s quite unfortunate that the majority of people simply don’t bother reading nutritional labels before buying something. But, food companies develop cunning ways of masking the true ingredients of their food products, even for people who do. On nutrition labels, the ingredients are listed in a descending order by amount. If you happen to see sugar in the first few rows, then it’s a safe bet that that product is filled with sugar. Food companies have managed to bypass this, by putting different kinds of sugar in their products.
This means that a product may have sugar, evaporated cane juice and high-fructose corn syrup, which are all just different names for the same thing, and that’s sugar. By doing this, they can put some other, healthier ingredient in the first few rows at the top. In any case, if one were, to sum up, the amounts of the aforementioned three types of sugar, sugar would come up at the top. That’s a sneaky way to cover up the real amount of processed sugar in these foods. Always make sure that you check if a certain product has more than one type of sugar. If it does, it’s very likely that sugar is among to top ingredient by amount.
6. Calories per serving
The number of calories and sugar amount in a food product is usually hidden by stating that the product is actually more than one piece or serving. For example, the producer may decide that their soda bottle or chocolate bar is sold as two servings, despite the fact that the majority of people won’t stop until they’ve finished both pieces/servings. Producers cunningly use this to their advantage by stating that their products have only a specific number of calories per serving, which means fewer calories in one serving.
When reading the nutrition labels, always check how many servings the product has. If it has two servings and each serving has 250 calories, then the entire product has 500 calories. A 24-oz (0.7 liters) bottle of soda might have 100 calories and 27 grams of sugar in one serving. If the entire bottle has 3 servings, the total number of calories is then 300, and it has 81 grams of sugar. Almost everyone nowadays can drink this amount in one sitting without any problem, especially as people are getting fatter every year. The takeaway point here is that you must check how many servings a product has. Then multiply the total amount of sugar and number of calories by the number of servings and you’ll find out their total amount.
Many processed foods nowadays have an artificial flavor added that actually tastes natural. For example, orange-flavored mineral water really tastes like oranges. The truth is that there isn’t a single drop of orange juice in there. The sweetness you feel is coming from the added sugar and flavor is coming from all kinds of artificial compounds. Just because some food or drink has the flavor of something real does not mean that any of that is actually there.
Strawberry, blueberry, orange, mango, you name it, all of these are usually just chemicals specifically made to taste like the real fruit. If you want to reap the benefits of real fruit, you can make your own natural juices from any fruit that you like or make a combo of many fruits. Just put them in a blender and you’ll have all-natural delicious and healthy juices.
8. Small amounts of healthy nutrients
Processed foods usually state on their nutrition labels that there are small amounts of certain ingredients that are commonly thought of as healthy. Again, another marketing trick. The truth is that in most cases the amounts of these ingredients are negligible and do not compensate for the overall harmful effects that the other ingredients cause. By doing this, clever salesmen can fool many parents into believing they are making the right food choices for their children and themselves. Some of the most common examples of ingredients often added in small amounts and then displays in bold letters on the packaging include antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and whole grains. This is why you should do a little research and find out how much of a certain healthy nutrient needs to be in a product for it to have a positive effect on your body.
9. Hiding ingredients that have been proven to be unhealthy
Lots of people are diagnosed with allergies or have bad reactions to certain food ingredients which is why they choose to avoid them. However, food companies are known to sometimes hide these ingredients by referring to them using technical terminology that the majority of people simply don’t know. For example, monosodium glutamate (MSG) may be called E621 and carrageenan may be called E407. Many types of sugar are also hidden behind such names, like “evaporated cane juice”, which may sound like some natural ingredient, but is really only sugar. That’s why you need to pay close attention to nutrition labels and look out for these “code names” which are usually compounds that may have potentially harmful effects.
10. Low-carb fast food
Diets that are low in carbs have gotten very popular over the past couple of decades. Food companies have started catching up with this trend and started offering a plethora of low-carb products. The main problem with this type of food is the same as with “low-fat” foods in that they are not necessarily healthy. They are usually highly processed junk foods that are filled with all sorts of unhealthy compounds. You needn’t go further than take a look at the nutritional label for products such as Atkins low-carb energy bars. That’s not food. Not to mention that you can also find low-carb bread and many other substitute products which actually have much more carbs than the labels says it does. That’s why you should try to ingest carbs moderately and go for the slow-digesting, low-glycemic, complex variety.
11. So-called organic ingredients
Even though organic food has its benefits, many of food companies use the word “organic” to make people believe they’re buying something healthy, when in fact they’re not. For example, when you see on the nutrition label “raw organic cane sugar” it is actually the exact same thing as ordinary sugar. Just because something is labeled as organic doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Lots of foods contain unhealthy compounds which are organic, but that doesn’t mean they are in any way healthier than their non-organic versions.
The main takeaway point is that you should avoid or limit processed foods intake and eat as much whole natural foods instead. This way, you won’t have to worry about suspicious ingredients or nutrition labels. When you eat real food you don’t need an ingredients list. The food itself is the ingredient.