6 Notoriously Misleading Food Terms Used to Trick Consumers
Our modern day food industry has become quite the debacle, with chemicals being sprayed all over our fruits and vegetables, to genetically modifying to processed food. As a result, the world has seen a large resistance to modern day food practices, and the resistance continues to grow, and for good reason.
The marches against Monsanto over the past few years are a perfect example of that, where millions of people all across the globe gathered to protest the existence and agricultural practices of the biotech giant.
There are also numerous studies available that justify the critical questioning of our food industry, and as many of us know, there are corporations out there that are willing to do anything, including lie, if it means that their product will continue to generate a large profit.
One way they do this is through false labeling, where the label doesn’t truly represent the truth about the food itself. Below are six commonly abused food industry terms that are used to mislead and trick consumers.
One of the biggest scams out there is the so called “natural” label we commonly see on food products. Truth is, a lot of the food products with this label are FAR from natural. They may still be GMO, and they are probably still covered with pesticides. They may contain growth hormones, antibiotics and may be processed. Does this sound natural to you? Adding the “natural” label to food products increases profitability by lying to consumers.
We as consumers should be doing our homework. We are constantly deceived, tricked, manipulated and subliminally programmed in so many ways. The fact that the FDA allows the ‘natural’ label despite the food being far from it is very dishonest. According to the FDA:
“From a food science perspective, it is difficult to define a food product that is ‘natural’ because the food has probably been processed and is no longer the product of the earth. That said, the FDA has not developed a definition for use of the term natural or its derivatives. However, the agency has not objected to the use of the term if the food does not contain added color, artificial flavors, or synthetic substances.” (source)
So the next time that you see the world “natural” on your food, remember that it’s most likely not as healthy of an option as it seems. Don’t ignore the ingredients and the reality of what’s really in your food, read the ingredients! If you don’t know what some of the ingredients are -which is commonly the case for a lot of us -take a picture, do some research and see for yourself what you are putting into your body on a daily basis.
Below is a great video titled “The Natural Effect,” done by onlyorganic.org. It’s funny, and very well done.
The organic label has become quite popular, especially over the past couple of years given the amount of information that’s now become available on pesticides, GMOs and more. Pesticides sprayed on conventional foods have been shown to be extremely detrimental to human health. For more information, and for more articles with studies embedded in them on that subject, please click here.
Many of today’s foods are labelled ‘organic’ but still contain ingredients that are not organic. Organic food however, does not use GMOs in the production of their foods, and there are several guidelines that a company must follow in order to label their food ‘organic.’ A complete list can be found here. You can also find out more information here.
The truth is, we can never really quite know if our food is truly organic, and the global collective has lost so much trust in government organizations that are responsible for this type of oversight which has led to a complete lack of truth. The only way to truly know is to grow your own food.
On the other hand, there is sufficient evidence showing that organic food in grocery stores is still better than non-organic food. For example, a recent study found that an organic diet for just one week dropped pesticide levels in adults by 90 percent. You can read more about that here. Another recent meta-analysis looked at over 300 studies that dealt with this issue, and found that organic food was far more nutritious than conventional food. You can read more about that here.
As far as meat goes, it’s important to keep in mind that organically raised chickens on some farms suffer from higher mortality rates than drugged chickens because of extremely crowded and filthy housing conditions, coupled with a lack of antibiotics. This can lead to even more parasites than are already found in drugged chickens.
Many “organically raised” cows are sent to factory-farm feedlots to be fattened prior to slaughter, where they are caked with feces and mud. Cows who are fattened on feedlots can still be labeled organic as long as they’re given organic feed.
You can read more about this here.
Sugar cane is real, natural sugar. It’s provided by nature and provides a number of different vitamins and minerals. What we call sugar today is not really sugar, it’s completely artificial and has zero health benefits.
It’s no secret that junk food is designed to be addictive, and that the sugar within it literally kills you and has been linked to cancer.
A recent UCLA study determined that it is also lowering our IQ. You can read more about that here. Another study found it to be just as addictive as heroin, you can read more about that here. Here is a video of a Coca Cola executive being shown just how much “sugar” is in their drink.
This deadly artificial sweetener comes in multiple forms, such as high fructose corn syrup, so be on the lookout and remember, “sugar” isn’t really real sugar.
4. Grass Fed
Grass fed does not mean organic, and as mentioned above, “organically” raised cows are sent to factory farm feedlots to be fattened prior to slaughter. It’s also important to remember that grass fed cows can be injected with growth hormones and antibiotics.
Most spices have been found to be chemically produced, just like everything else. Many of them are not real spices, in fact, much of our food is not even real food! Most spices and herbs are really good for you, but when they’re put on a food label you can’t really ensure that they are what they say that they are. Spices are also not required to be free from contaminants.
Keep in mind that products on the shelves of your average grocery chain my have been there for a year or more, and they probably sat in a warehouse up to a year before that. Since the average shelf life of ground spices maxes out around six months, chances are you’re buying stale spices. Also remember that these spices are generally of very poor quality and may contain nasty contaminants, which we’ll look at in a minute.
Last year, for instance, the Food Safety Network (FSN) conducted a full-scale investigation into the legitimacy of honey, and found that more than 75 percent of all the so-called honey sold in stores is not actually honey. You can read more about that here. We don’t often think about spices in this manner so it’s important to be aware.
6. Fat Free or Low Fat
There isn’t much I have to say here. This reminds me of a popular meme I saw floating around social media recently that said:
“Anytime you see a “fat free” or “low fat” label, just think “chemical shit storm.”
Many of these products are packed with harmful chemicals and artificial flavoring that are detrimental to human health. It’s a big time marketing gimmick for unsuspecting consumers.
A great example is fat free yogurt, which was found to be associated with greater weight gain. Studies have shown that the sugars and additives used to replace missing fat, drive up insulin resistance, which leads to greater weight gain. This applies to all types of “low fat” food options. You can read more about that here.
I hope that this article reminds you to be very weary of the labels on your food. Pick and choose with caution, do some research and select foods with awareness. Don’t just believe everything you read at a grocery store.
Arjun Walia joined the CE team in 2010 and have been doing this ever since. There are many things happening on the planet that don’t resonate with me, and I wanted to do what I could to play a role in creating change. It’s been great making changes in my own life and creating awareness and I look forward to more projects that move beyond awareness and into action and implementation. So stay tuned. email@example.com
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