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What Are You Really Eating?

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What Are You Really Eating?

Getting label savvy and reading the fine print.
Amanda  Ursell
Amanda Ursell More by this author
Oct 24, 2009 at 10:00 AM

I’ve always thought that labels are a bit like clothes and cosmetics. We buy outfits that suit us and enhance our appearance in ways that bring out our good points. In other words, if you have Julia Roberts-type legs or a nipped-in waist like Jennifer Lopez, it makes sense to show off these assets. Similarly, if the makers of certain cookies, for example, know that the product is high in fiber, they’ll want to tell you about it on the label.

They’d be a bit crazy, however, to draw your attention to the fact that the cookies are also packed with fat, sugar, and salt. Not highlighting these points (which are obviously going to deter many customers from buying the snack) is like not wearing something that you know is going to accentuate those parts of your body that you’d rather play down. That is, just as most of us know how to dress to hide our flaws, manufacturers know how to disguise the worst features of their products in order to show the item in the most appealing light.

When you’re looking at a carton covered in pictures of fruit, you could be forgiven for thinking that the drink inside of it contains significant amounts of juice from that fruit. Not necessarily. In reality, “fruit drinks” are often no more than flavored water that’s artificially colored, packed with added sugars, and consisting of no more than 5 percent juice. The moral is not be seduced by what you see at first glance, but to instead read the fine print.

About Author
Amanda  Ursell
Amanda Ursell, a native of the UK, is a member of numerous nutrition and dietetic societies and has recently been appointed a Fellow of The Royal Society of Health. Continue reading