This led to research on flavorings, I found this CBS video segment from 60 Minutes which is informative. But these were just the start. I started noticing that “healthy” foods were not so healthy, like the “Healthy Apple Chips” I bought the other day, “made with real apples.” They turned out to be dried and ground apples mixed with high fructose corn syrup, and formed into what looked like apple slices. The first ingredient in them was the corn syrup. Not so healthy.
How about a vegetable juice so many people buy because it gives lots of servings of vegetables in just one can? It is made with 100% vegetable juice! Read it again, it is not 100% vegetable juice, one of its ingredients is 100% juice from vegetables. There is also 690mg of sodium in one 11.5 oz can (and natural flavors, and some other goodies). It has plenty of good stuff in it, but it is certainly not healthy with all that salt. Yet they enjoy almost $1 billion dollars in sales per year.
The big one I have found is serving size. I recently discovered that an Italian ice product I like, which comes in what looks like one of those single serving ice cream containers and has reasonable nutrition information, actually has 2 servings in each container. One serving is just a few spoonfuls, so to eat the whole container is pretty darn unhealthy. Or the prepared Cuban sandwich I love – 1 sandwich, 2 servings, 500 calories.
Food companies are in business to sell you food, not to make you healthy. But they understand that “healthy,” “low fat,” “low sodium,” and “sugar free” sell. As such, they package things in packages to entice you to buy. Even the color of the label matters – Cornell University found that the color green on the label actually increases people’s perception of food being healthy, even when it is not. We are not talking uneducated people, we are talking people who look for healthy food.
Read and understand the labels. You might be surprised at what you are eating.