Are product labels misleading?
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My favourite peanut butter contains only 2 ingrdients, peanuts and sea salt.
The other day my husband decided to buy some peanuts. He was bewildered when he came home with the peanuts and I told him they were the wrong peanuts. “How many kinds of peanuts are there?” he asked. He went on to say that peanuts are peanuts, and the ones he brought home actually looked like the peanuts I usually buy. He was right, the peanut containers looked the same and the labels were very similar. Then I showed him the ingredients part of the label. There was a long list of added ingredients. All I wanted was peanuts, not all the other added ingredients. The next time he was at the grocery store, he found my preferred peanuts. They had just two ingredients on the label, peanuts and sea salt.
Most of us are used to buying the same brand of products without paying close attention to product labels. That’s how I used to shop. I would buy the same brand of let’s say whole milk, peanut butter, cooking oil, and bread, and would not stop to take a closer look at the product labels. And if I did, I had no clue what most of the things written on the product labels meant. The only thing I was sure to look out for was the expiration date or use by date. Things changed when I started paying attention to what I ate after I started my weight loss journey. This became an eye-opening experience.
The food labels are designed to influence us to buy the product. They give us all the information to positively influence us to purchase the products while disguising the information that might make us hesitate to make the purchase. I sometimes wish the food product labels were like medicine labels that say, “This medicine will help you with your symptoms but may cause nausea, dizziness, blindness or death”. That way we know what to expect before we consume food products especially if we have some food sensitivities.It is easy to find what we are looking for in food product labels than what we are trying to avoid.
There are things on the label that are clearly written like nutrition facts which list calories, nutrition daily values of the macronutrients like fats, carbs, sugar, fiber, and protein. Some also list other ingredients like sodium, cholesterol, potassium etc. Others will say: contains no nitrites, hormones or preservatives etc. All these give us useful information about food products.
Some other useful information includes;
When it came to looking at the product labels my approach changed after I started paying attention to what I ate. I needed to eliminate certain ingredients I was sensitive to. The more I paid attention to the ingredients, the more I realized there was a lot to learn. I stopped letting the bright colored words and beautiful picture on the labels distract me and I focused on eliminating the ingredients I did not want to consume.Here are a few things I learned;
As I am still learning and finding out more about product labels, it’s becoming more and more evident that product labels are more than just what meets the eye.
The product labels may seem misleading, but are they? Are we just uninformed or are the marketing companies smarter than us?
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