Michael van Straten
Michael van Straten
australiaphen375.com

Health Or Hype?

Food labels should help you make healthier choices, but too often they hide the truth, mislead the shopper and are designed to boost profit.

Brown Bread
I recently taught a class of French 17 year olds how to cook healthy recipes, including a chicken burger, so I went to buy healthy buns. I found some with"whole grain" in large print. Later, I read the small print - 14% whole grain flour and the rest was white with lots of chemicals. So, don't buy brown, buy whole meal or whole grain and read the label first! If it says "made with" it is there to mislead you. Only "made from" means 100% whole grain, fruit juice or chicken in the pie.

Salt
Salt kills; halving the daily consumption in Britain would save 100,000 lives a year by preventing stroke and heart disease.
Too much hides in some foods and manufacturers often label it 'sodium' – a much smaller number. Multiply by 2.5 to get salt content; e.g. bread labelled'sodium – 0.18g per slice' means 0.45g of salt, 10% of your safe adult daily allowance. Add half a can of Heinz baked beans for another 1.5 g and your child has half the salt for a day!

Eggs
Only Organic eggs are worth eating, but the marketing men have other ideas. "Raised in fresh air" means they CAN get out but often with such small exits that most don't bother; "Free Range" is little different with three 18 inch exits from a giant shed onto concrete and a bit of grass.

Natural - Pure - Homemade - Maybe Not
Would you get a farm house or homemade cake from the supermarket? Almost certainly not. It would contain fats, oils, sugars and other chemicals not found in your kitchen. Go to the WI stall in the market or make your own.

Elm Tree Farm meat and Loch Lomond salmon sound inviting and local and traditional, but beware. I just made up the names and Supermarkets invent their own too as a Brand for produce that may come from anywhere in the world, not from a farm on your doorstep.

Natural foods can not contain added colours, artificial flavours, or "synthetic substances." However, a food labelled natural may contain preservatives or be injected with sodium, like some raw chicken. High fructose corn syrup, preservatives, concentrates, thickeners and flavour enhancers should not be there, but often are. Take your magnifying glass to read the small print.

Flavour and Flavoured?
'Mango flavour', means zero mango in the juice, jam or pie. "Flavoured" means the fruit is in the product, but could be only 0.5% mango powder and still legally, be labelled mango flavoured.
Fresh on the label means you shouldn't expect a four-week shelf life, nor should you expect food labelled as pure to have added ingredients or those described as natural to contain artificial preservatives, colourings, sweeteners or other additives.
It is time to become a Natural Health savvy shopper.

 

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