Cut the Crap: Hidden Nasties in ‘Natural/Healthy’ Foods

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December 9, 2013 by urbanhealthjunkie

The Myth: Ingredients lists on food products inform consumers about what’s contained in the product

The Reality: Food manufacturers deceive consumers into thinking products are healthier than they really are

Even ‘health food’ shops sell products largely made of sugar or contain high levels of carcinogenic ingredients.

Yet if food packaging list all the substances that go into a food product, how can they deceive consumers? Here’s how:

Trick No. 1: Distribute sugars among many ingredients so they don’t appear in the top 3. A manufacturer may use a combination of sucrose, high-fructose corn syrup, corn syrup solids, brown sugar, dextrose and other sugars to enure none are present in large enough quantities to attain a top position on the ingredients list (ingredients are listed in order of their proportion in the food, with the most common ingredients listed first). This fools consumers into thinking the food product isn’t really made mostly of sugar BUT the majority ingredients could all be different forms of sugar. It’s a way to artificially shift sugar further down the ingredients list and thereby grossly misinform consumers about sugar content.

Trick No 2: “Label padding” helps manufacturers to jump on the health food bandwagon without producing healthy foods. They pad lists with miniscule amounts of great-sounding ingredients. In foods, companies pad the ingredients lists with healthy-sounding berries, herbs, seeds or superfoods that are often only present tiny amounts. Having “spirulina” appear at the end of the list is meaningless, there’s not enough in the food to have any real effect on your health. In 90% of “herbal” shampoos and beauty products there are almost no detectable levels of real herbs.

Trick No 3: Hide dangerous ingredients behind innocent-sounding names that fool consumers into thinking they’re safe. The highly carcinogenic ingredient sodium nitrite, for example, sounds perfectly safe, but it is well documented to cause brain tumors, pancreatic cancer, colon cancer and many other cancers, Yeast extract sounds like a safe food ingredient, too, but it’s actually a trick used to hide monosodium glutamate (MSG)

There is no requirement for food ingredients lists to include the names of chemical contaminants, heavy metals, bisphenol-A, PCBs, perchlorate or other toxic substances found in the food. As a result, ingredients lists don’t really list what’s actually in the food, they only list what the manufacturer wants you to believe is in the food.

The answer: avoid processed foods. Use fresh ingredients, you’ll feel the benefits quickly.

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The answer: avoid processed foods whenever possible. Use fresh ingredients, you’ll feel the benefits quickly.

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