Don't fall for marketing ploys.
                           Here's how to tell fact from fiction on food packaging.
                                                                                                                                                                                   
                                                           by Stacey Colino in Health Radar


      Many people are duped, thinking that all label terms are regulated by law.  The fact is, some labeling terms are regulated and some are not.  To eat healthy, you need to know the difference.
    People are easily tricked by food labels and the claims that are on them.  If it looks healthy or sounds healthy on the package, people often think it is a healthy product and they don't take the time to read the labels closely.
    That is a mistake because as we all know, looks can be deceiving .....  and food labels are no exception.
    To help you become a savvier shopper use this guide to decipher the truths behind common food label claims.


      TERMS & TIPS
Zero Trans Fat
What you think it means:  The cookies, crackers, or other packaged snacks are free of trans fats.
What it really means:  To make this claim, an item must contain less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving, according to the FDA guidelines.
     Manufacturers know that showing any amount of trans fat on a label means it likely will not sell because trans fat is now widely considered one of the unhealthiest food ingredients.
     Food makers get around this by listing nutritional information for a tiny serving size that no one would actually eat.  That way, there may be less than half a gram of trans fat in the serving specified.  So under the FDA rules, they can put "zero trans fat" on the label.
     But if you end up eating four times that amount -- which often is a reasonable portion -- you would consume close to 2 grams of artery-clogging trans fat.

Savvy shopping strategy:  
Look closely at the ingredients list on the package.  If you see "hydrogenated oil," "partially hydrogenated oil," or "shortening" listed, the product contains trans fat, which means your best bet is to put it back on the shelf.

All Natural
What you think it means:   The item is healthy, wholesome, and good for you.
What it really means:   The term "all natural" has no legal definition,  It is really marketing-speak, designed to give the pudding, cereal, ice cream, or other processed food a wholesome image.  The product could have added chemicals or preservatives and still be labeled "all natural."  A product with this label could have heaps of added sugar {like corn syrup} making it not so healthy.

Savvy shopping strategy: 
Read the nutrition facts on the back of the package to gauge the real nutritional value of the food, instead of being distracted by claims of "naturalness."

Reduced Sugar
What you think it means:  The jams, jellies, or other foods labeled "reduced sugar," "low sugar," or "no sugar added" are low in calories and good for you.
What it really means:  "Reduced sugar" means the product has 25% less sugar than the product's original form.  "Low sugar" is not a regulated term so it doesn't mean anything in particular,  "No sugar added" simply means no sugar was added during the preparation, cooking, or baking process.



Savvy shopping strategy: 
Check the grams of sugar on the nutrition facts panel. Remember: 4 grams of sugar equals about 1 teaspoon, so choosing a cereal with 16 grams of sugar per serving is like dropping 4 teaspoons of sugar into your bowl.  Also, sugar is the master of disguise because it goes by many names {molasses, evaporated cane juice, fruit juice concentrate, nectar, corn sweetener, honey, syrup, or anything ending with "ose" like sucrose, dextrose, fructose, or maltose}.

Multigrain
What you think it means:  The food is loaded with whole grains and fiber.
What it really means:  The chips, bread, crackers, or cereal contains two or more different grains, such as rice, oats, corn, or wheat.  This doesn't mean they are "whole" grains, which are the healthiest kind and better sources of fiber and other essential nutrients than refined grains.

Savvy shopping strategy:  
To make sure you are getting a whole grain product, search for the word "whole" in the top ingredients on the ingredients list.

Low Calorie
What you think it means:  Foods labeled "low calorie," "light," or "reduced fat' have a healthy halo because they are low in fat, calories, and sugar.
What it really means:  Low calorie means the item contains 40 calories or less per serving; a pretty good deal as long as the designated serving size will satisfy you.  The "light" label could mean lighter flavor, texture, and color.....but the same number of calories as the original version.  "Low fat" is defined as less than 3 grams of fat per serving.  "Reduced fat" means that the food contains 25% less fat than the original form.

Savvy shopping strategy:
With "light" or "reduced fat" products manufacturers typically add sodium and sugar to make up for the loss of flavor.


        GMO Food Labeling:  What You Need To Know

    Many people try to avoid genetically modified {GMO} foods because they have been linked to a variety of health problems.  Although these lab-created crops are banned in more than 30 countries, they are legal in the USA.  What's more, in most states food makers are not required to reveal on labels if a product contains GMO ingredients.
    Your best protection is to eat organic food, which under the law, is not allowed to contain any genetically altered ingredients.
    Another way to reduce your intake of GMO foos is to remember the "2 S's & 3 C's."  The vast majority of GMO foods come from only five plants.  About 90% of each of these crops are genetically modified, so look for them on your packaged food label.
Soy:  Used in soybean oil, lecithin, protein powders, and vegetable protein added to many packaged foods.
Sugar beets:  Refined into sugar.
Corn:  Used to make corn syrup and feed for many meat animals.
Canola:  Made from the rapeseed plant, this oil is a common ingredient in salad dressings, mayonnaise, and snack foods.
Cottonseed:  This oil is used to fry processed foods such as potato chips.  It is a common ingredient in baked goods and margarine.
    Three other vegetables that are also often genetically modified:  zucchini, yellow crookneck squash, and Hawaiian papaya.


​​Deciphering Fruit & Vegetable Stickers​
     Have you ever noticed the numbered code, usually four digits, on the little stickers on fruits and vegetables? They are called PLU codes  and the first number can tell you if a fruit or vegetable is organic, conventional, or GMO.  Some produce does not have stickers because the use of the PLU codes is optional.
Organic {GMO-free}: starts with the number "9."  Remember: Starts with nine, it's fine.
Conventional {but may be GMO}: Starts with 3 or 4.
GMO: Starts with the number "8."
    Since the listing of the GMO code number "8" is entirely voluntary, you will seldom see that number listed on your fruits and vegetables.  What are they trying to hide?

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Cracking The Food Label Code
{GMO, All Natural, Trans Fats, etc} 
​​June 8, 2015


                                                          May 2015 newsletter                                                                                                          ​ 
 Ever walk into a room and forget why you went there?  This has happened to everyone occasionally.  But imagine how you would feel if that happened all day every day?  This is the life of an elderly person with dementia.
   The following study gives hope to these people.  Maybe something as easy as drinking several glasses of green tea every day would help resolve this issue and give grandma back her memory.