Food labels can lead you in the wrong direction when it comes to eating healthy. Just because foods appear to be healthy, doesn’t necessarily mean they are better for you. Gluten-free, no GMO, organic, what do they all really mean? Let’s take a look at these health buzzwords and what they mean for you.
Common Health Buzzwords:
1. Organic. Organic is one of those health buzzwords that continues to pop up more and more. A report released by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that consumers are willing to pay top dollar for organic products because they believe they are healthier than products that are not marked as organic. However, organic does not always mean healthier. By law, the word organic means non-essential pesticides and fertilizers were not used in the harvesting process of a particular food. Organic does not mean that a food contains fewer calories or that a food is extremely nutritious for you. However, organic products are going to tend to be less contaminated than your conventional fruits and vegetables.
2. Multigrain. Products, that are considered to be multigrain, endure an intense refining process that strips out the bran and germ of the grain. This also takes most of the nutritional value along with it. Many multigrain products use added flavorings and dyes to seem more nutritional. Speaking of grain, health buzzwords, whole grain is another term that can be misleading. Some canned pastas are labeled as whole grain. However, they contain little nutritional value and can contain up to 30 percent of the recommended daily sodium intake in just one serving.
3. Gluten-Free. Gluten-free is one of those health buzzwords that has many people cutting gluten from their diet. However, only one percent of the population has celiac disease. Celiac disease is a condition where the body is unable to process gluten. If you are not in this one percent of individuals, the benefits of going gluten-free are very much questionable. What is gluten? Gluten is a protein that is found in grains such as rye, wheat and barley. Gluten-free products contain no gluten. They often contain fats and sugars to help make for a more pleasant taste.
4. Antioxidant, Immunity Support. Chances are you have seen at least one label with “antioxidant, immunity support” listed on it. These common health buzzwords have little evidence to support that when added to foods or supplements that they have any benefits to your health. The words “immunity support” are virtually meaningless. All nutrients can help with your immune system in some way or another. This label can be especially troubling when seen on a soft drink label. It wrongly implies that soft drinks have health benefits.
5. Made with Real Fruit. The health buzzwords “made with real fruit” often raise the question of how much real fruit a product is actually made with. One serving of a particular fruit may only contain a few drops of real fruit. When a product makes this claim, some consumers are tricked into believing that the product is just as healthy as consuming an apple or a banana.