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The Truth about Food Labels

Posted Apr 17 2012 5:19pm

Hello healthy eaters!  I'm so glad you're back.  Today's post I believe will be very useful!

I've gone back and forth on how to introduce this subject.  I want to make it short and sweet and yet have you come away with a new sense of empowerment and knowledge. So here's my attempt to explain it without boring or confusing you!

Let me start off by saying, it's not your fault if you don't understand everything.  The food companies try to make it confusing for you.  We as intelligent people start to catch on that a certain ingredient is bad, so they change the wording to trick us to keep our business.  So, let me reiterate, IT'S NOT YOUR FAULT! 
(EX: corn syrup magically becomes corn sugar.)

Secondly, government plays a huge role with definitions and regulations on food. If you don't believe me, look at the USDA food pyramid.  That has been taught at school for decades.  Or think of the big industries in food (dairy, meat).  Those big industries give money to our politicians.  As a trade off, they then advertise to these industries.  Many countries have survived and lived healthy lives without some of the categories on our food pyramid.   Remember the commercial "Milk, does a body good..."  Research has shown that it's not as good as we think, and yet it's still on the food pyramid and on our commercials.

Did they go to school for nutrition?  No!  Then why are we listening to them?  All I ask is that when new research comes up about certain products or ingredients, to keep an OPEN-MIND. 

So all this leads me to food labels. Remember those tricky politicians I mentioned?  Well, they even determine the definitions of our food labels.  And let me tell you, the definitions are quite sneaky.  Here are the ones you'll find most common.

1. Organic: No herbicides or pesticides.  Means it's made with 95% organic ingredients.  Trick: Look for 100% organic.

2. Fresh produce: Any food not cooked or frozen. (Basically all produce and it's very broad) 

3. Natural: This currently only refers to meat and poultry. The meat and poultry can only undergo minimal processing and cannot contain artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. Trick: This doesn't mean it's organic, humanely raised, or free of hormones and antibiotics.  (That's funny, I thought natural was pretty easy to define, and yet I was not thinking that!)

4. Free Range: They have access to the outside. No time constraint.  Just means that have access. USDA considers 5 minutes of open-air access a day to be adequate. (Really! *insert saracastic tone*)

5. Cage free:  Birds aren't raised in cages. The loophole is that it doesn't explain whether they were inside/outside, or overcrowded.  Trick: Look for "Pastured" or "Pasture-raised"

*The only thing I want you to come away with is know where your food is coming from. My purpose wasn't to confuse you, but to become a little pissed off about what our government is teaching us about food. I'm a huge advocate of farmers markets and even growing your own garden.  To find a farmer's market in your area visit  Local Harvest's website

Also, if you feel as passionate as I do, and need a helping hand in verifying a few things, I'd be happy to connect.  Click here to get in touch!
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