False Advertising at the Grocery Store

When countless products on grocery store shelves stated endless health benefits, is it any wonder people are confused about what to buy?

Keep these four tips in mind to avoid being tricked by false advertising!

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1. The fewer ingredients, the better

A good rule is to look for foods with no more than five ingredients. A long list of ingredients should tip you off that a food is highly processed and filled with sugars or other by-products.

Processed foods may also list sugar and starch by different names — there are more than 60 different names for sugar alone!

Also, when you don’t recognize the name of an ingredient, or when it’s in Latin, chances are it’s not real food!

You wouldn’t find maltodextrin, polysorbate 80, or butylated hydroxyoluene in your cupboard. You wouldn’t cook with them or sprinkle them on your food. So do you really want to eat them?

That’s what we want to get back to: aiming for the fewest possible steps from the field to fork.

2. The more claims you see, the less healthy it probably is

Research shows that the least healthy foods are advertised the most heavily.

For example, you have probably seen different health claims for popular cereals: terms like heart-healthy, cholesterol-lowering, gluten-free, 100% whole grain, and no artificial flavours or colours!

The reality is the other main ingredients are sugar and cornstarch, which is basically another form of sugar!

Despite the fact that the cereal is high in sugar and starch, it’s low in fat, so it got the heart-healthy label. But new evidence clearly points to added sugar, and not dietary fat, as the culprit in raising heart disease risk.

And while some cereals contain oat bran, they often provide just 1 gram of soluble fibre per serving — not enough to lower your cholesterol.  

3. Frozen may actually be better than fresh

You may think fresh fruits and veggies are the most nutritious. But frozen fruits and veggies actually have the edge.

For example, frozen berries — picked at the point of pure ripeness in the peak of the season, then flash-frozen — are amazing.  You won’t find mould growing on them, and their nutrients won’t degrade.

The same is true of frozen vegetables. They may not taste as great as a hand-picked tomato or bunch of broccoli from your garden. But frozen veggies haven’t been transported long distances like the fresh veggies at your grocery store.

Their quality is less likely to degrade, and their nutrient levels are higher.

Because canned fruits and vegetables often contain added sugar or salt, they’re your least nutritious option. Produce canned in its whole form is fine. (Just make sure that cans are BPA-free.)

4. Don’t ditch all processed, packaged foods

Not all man-made products are bad, but you want your food to be as close to its original state as possible.

So canned tomatoes containing water and salt are OK. Sardines canned in olive oil and salt are fine.

Here’s an easy test: If you covered the front of a box, package or jar with your hand, then read the ingredients list, would you still know what it was?

Again, if a food has a super-long list of ingredients, or comes in weird shapes, sizes or colours, think twice about putting it in your body.

Processed foods now represent about 60% of our diet. Is it any wonder people struggle with obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cholesterol issues, high blood pressure and other chronic illnesses?

When you pay closer attention to the foods that find their way into your grocery cart, you’ll start to feel better.

Comment below on tips you look for when grocey shopping.

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