Labels Don't Always Mean What We Think
See “All Natural” on your food labels? Does that mean it’s healthy? Maybe not. Learning the lingo of healthy eating can be frustrating. To make it easy, here’s a breakdown of today’s top food buzzwords:
Food Labels Lingo #1: All Natural
This is a bogus term that means absolutely nothing but sounds appealing and wholesome from an advertising perspective. The label may say “All Natural” but other products can still contain endless amounts of synthetic laboratory-concocted chemicals.
Consider the report that strawberry and vanilla flavor can come from a beaver’s ass.
Food Labels Lingo #2: Raw
Generally speaking, this refers to food that has not been cooked at temperatures higher than 118º Farenheit.
Raw food proponents point to studies that show cooking at high temperatures can destroy enzymes, vitamins, and other nutrients, as well as create carcinogens like acrylamide and heterocyclic amines (HCAs). On the contrary, eating cooked food can increase the body’s absorption of essential carotenoids like beta-carotene and lycopene.
Food Labels Lingo #3: Organic
Certified organic foods are not allowed to contain a long list of synthetic pesticides and disgusting/dangerous additives.
At the market, choosing organic is still the best option by far, especially when it comes to fruits and vegetables that are on the Dirty Dozen. However, there is now a noticeable uptick in the questionable additives allowed in organic foods. Read the labels of organic foods thoroughly and research any ingredient you’re unsure of.
Food Labels Lingo #4: GMO
GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism. GMOs are created by inserting foreign genes from a plant or animal directly into a food source’s genetic code. Animal studies link GMOs to various types of cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, osteoporosis, atherosclerosis, allergies, and Lou Gehrig’s disease. There is currently a worldwide movement dedicated to banning the use of GMOs and properly labeling generically modified foods.
Your best option is to search for a “Non-GMO” label on anything you purchase.
Food Labels Lingo #5: Gluten-Free
Gluten is another name for a family of proteins in rye, barley, and wheat. People who suffer from celiac disease and fibromyalgia are often allergic to wheat and reject gluten. If you are allergic to gluten, eating it may lead to intestinal damage. Celiac disease can trigger intestinal pain, osteoporosis, cancer, and has been shown to increase the odds that you will die an early death.
There are a lot of confusing reports about gluten and who should or shouldn’t eat it. Realistically, the products that gluten appears in are all bad for your health. Look for the “Gluten-free” label.
Food Labels Lingo #6: Cage-Free & Free-Range
Thanks to legislative loopholes, these terms also essentially mean nothing. The only way to know your eggs are from happy and healthy chickens is to visit a local farm and see for yourself. Farmers markets are a good place to start, since you have a direct opportunity to discuss how the chickens and eggs are raised in a farm.
Food Labels Lingo #7: Sugar-Free
“Sugar-Free” products often contain synthetic sweeteners like sucralose and aspartame. Studies show artificial sweeteners can actually lead to weight gain, and aspartame has been linked to birth defects, diabetes, epilepsy/seizures, emotional disorders, and brain cancer.
Anything “Sugar-Free” is really a health risk masked as an alternative to typical sugary products. It’s all the same. Avoid them at all costs.
Food Labels Lingo #8: Low-Fat & Fat-Free
This is often just another clever marketing tactic. In reality, foods labeled “Low-Fat” and “Fat-Free” are often highly processed and still contain loads of sugar, salt, and chemical additives. So although the “fat” is minimal, the other health hazards can still add fat to your body.
Food Labels Lingo #9: BPA-Free
Bisphenol A (BPA) is a man-made compound that leaches out of plastic, and mimics estrogen in the body. It is linked to breast cancer, narrowed arteries, childhood asthma, pregnancy complications, and more. Heating food in plastic is the best way to ensure you will ingest BPA.
If a food product is in plastic labeled “BPA-Free,” it likely contains Bisphenol S (BPS), which is just as bad or worse than BPA. The only way to truly be free of dangerous chemicals in plastic is to avoid plastic altogether. Try stainless steal water bottles to stay hydrated.
Food Labels Lingo #10: Vegetarian
Vegetarian foods do not contain any animals — including fish. However, they may contain animal products like dairy and eggs.
People exist on different planes of vegetarianism; once you establish yours, be mindful and read the label to guarantee to avoid whatever animals you’ve decided on.
Food Labels Lingo #11: Vegan
Vegan foods do not contain any animals or animal products — including dairy and eggs.