Walk into any big grocery store and you’re in for a sensory onslaught: a blinding array of packaged edibles, each one designed to send you into a food coma before you ingest a single calorie. Emblazoned on nearly every box, bag, or bottle is a multitude of nutritional claims, essentially screaming out loud for you to buy them. The thing is, those claims aren’t exactly what they seem. They’re a marketing ploy, pure and simple. And as you get older, you should be more careful about the purchases that you make. Make sure that you get the ones that aren’t loaded with sugar or additives because you’re health could pay the big price.
You have to know the packaging tricks that make you think you’re buying the best foods for your health but instead lure you into spending on junk. Learn to decode the labels so you can sort out the bad from the good and save a bundle of cash in the process. Remember, numbers can be deceiving. Some products claim that they have less amount of fat per gram, and what you don’t consider is the word gram. This doesn’t amount to much, and to add flavor, the manufacturers may replace that one gram of fat with three grams of refined flour and sugar. This is hardly a trade-off.
Also remember that “healthy” logos are bought, not just earned. There’s a proliferation of a variety of brands that come from other countries. There are some that wear the Heart Association seal like a badge of honor, yet they have more sugar than you think. If you read the fine print below the logo, it simply meets the food criteria for saturated fat and cholesterol. In other words, it could have a pound of sugar and still qualify. How is this possible, you ask? Companies pay for the sign to appear on the product. So, choose the unsweetened versions of what you want and just add cinnamon or honey for the taste.
Also, claims that it comes from a good source can be questionable. Don’t be fooled by labels touting foods as “good” sources of vitamins and minerals: a serving needs just 10 percent of the recommended daily value of a specific nutrient to actually qualify. Sometimes, one piece doesn’t meet this. You may have to eat 10 servings (or the entire box and then some) to get the amount you need for the day. If you’re devouring boxes of cookies to get your daily requirement, a lack of calcium will the least of your problems. To get what your body needs, stick with nature’s multivitamins: fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, and lean meats. Whereas with fortified cookies, your calcium comes with only sugar. When you take in the bone-builder of milk and cheese, you also get a healthy dose of fat-burning, muscle-making protein.
Always be careful because health benefits may just be exaggerated. Bottled green teas, for instance, may not be as packed with free-radical killers all the time. Too boost your catechin levels, brew your own tea and let it steep for at least five minutes.