Why These Food Packaging Claims Keep You from Your Real Goals

Posted: May 16, 2017 in Blog, Food, Nutrition
Food nutrition and packaging

If you’ve been trying to lose weight for any length of time, you know that’s it’s not as simple or easy as it’s often made to be by the claims of weight loss diets and food manufacturers.

On other words, there’s no ’90 days to the perfect body’.

In fact, for most people, healthy, sustained weight loss is the opposite of simple and easy. It’s a complex process and that requires education and dedication.

The ‘simple, easy’ myth starts with the term ‘weight loss’ itself. It sounds so easy: all you have to do is lose weight to look better, feel better, be happier. And the myth snowballs from there. If the goal is weight loss, then I should eat foods that help me lose weight.

But is losing weight really your goal? Do you really want to lose pounds or, as we just mentioned above, do you really want to look better, feel better and, hopefully, be happier? If that’s so, then focusing exclusively on lowering your weight might be the wrong way to go about it.

If looking better, feeling better and trying to be happier is what you want, you should make them your objective. Instead of thinking only about losing weight, think more in terms of weight management, getting good nutrition and living an overall healthier lifestyle. When you do, there’s every chance that you’ll reach those goals and a lower weight too.

Unfortunately, the people who produce many the foods we buy in the grocery store don’t necessarily want you to focus on the real goal. It’s far easier, and much less costly, for them to promote the simple, easy goal of weight loss.

That means you need to be more conscious of the differences between their goals and yours. By being aware of many of the claims made on food packaging, and their actual implications for your objectives, you’ll avoid falling into the ‘simple, easy’ trap and improve your chances of getting to where you actually want to be.

Among others, these are some of the claims on food packaging that can be misleading about what the contents of the food actually deliver.

“Fat-Free”

This may be the worst offender in promoting the idea of a quick fix for losing weight. First, fat isn’t your enemy. You need healthy fats for energy, cell and tissue growth, to protect your internal organs, to absorb nutrients and a host of other health benefits. Not only are many foods that are labelled ‘fat-free’ being deceptive about the advantages of eating them, they can actually have a negative effect by robbing you of all the benefits that fat delivers. Instead of ‘fat-free’, make sure you get a variety of healthy fats in a balanced diet.

“Sugar-Free”

By now, most of us should know why we need to cut our sugar consumption. But ‘sugar-free’ is not necessarily the answer. The substitutes used by food manufacturers to imitate sugar’s sweetness can be almost as bad for us. Artificial sweeteners have been linked to weight gain, increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and hypertension.

“Multigrain”

We all need fibre in our diets. It helps slow down the absorption of simple carbs and helps to keep our digestive systems running smoothly. Eating foods made from processed grains, like white bread and white rice, robs us of fibre because it’s stripped away in the processing of the grain. That’s why it’s important to look for ‘whole grain’ foods. But food packaging often present ‘multigrain’ foods in a way that can be deceptive. Simply put, ‘multigrain’ does not mean ‘whole grain’.

“Low Sodium”

Like fats, we absolutely need salt to live (your heart would literally stop if there was no salt in your body), but we eat too much of it. That leads to a host of problems, from contributing to weight gain to increased risk of heart disease and stroke. The problem with many foods labelled ‘low sodium’ lies in the fact that they still might have very high levels of salt. For example, one 250ml (about 8 ounces) serving of Campbell’s Low -Sodium V8 vegetable juice still delivers about 10% of the ‘adequate intake’ of salt per day, as recommended by Health Canada. To be sure, sodium-reduced foods are much better for your health than their regular counterparts. But that has more to do with the incredible amounts of salt added to regular versions than it does with their low-sodium varieties being particularly healthy.

The path to a healthier diet is full of pitfalls. The nutrition specialists at your nearest Herbal One Centre can help you avoid them. Call or visit us today.