How To Avoid The Marketing Traps Of Food Labels


Reading food labels can be confusing and because we are more health-conscious than ever and food manufacturers’ use marketing tricks to try and convince us to buy their “healthier” products.

Research has proven that by adding health claims to front labels affects people’s choices.

If it says so then it must be true!

Some food labels claims are extremely misleading. Examples include many “whole grain” breakfast cereals. Despite the ‘healthy’ claim, these products contain large amounts of sugars and syrups and minimal whole grains.

This makes it hard for us to identify healthy options without a thorough inspection of the ingredients list. Product ingredients are listed by quantity, from highest to lowest amount.

That means that the first listed ingredient is what the manufacturer used the most of. A good rule of thumb is to scan the first three ingredients, because they are the largest part of what you’re eating.

If the first ingredients include refined grains, some sort of sugar or hydrogenated oils, you can be pretty sure that the product is unhealthy.

Another good tip is if the ingredients list is longer than 2–3 lines, you can assume that the product is highly processed.

ADDITIONAL TIP: Watch Out For Serving Sizes!

The backs of nutrition labels state how many calories and nutrients are in a single serving of the product….

However, these serving sizes are often much smaller portions than one would generally eat in one sitting. For example, one serving may be half a can of pop, a quarter of a biscuit or as in the picture below, 1/3 of a chocolate bar!

In this way, manufacturers try to deceive us into thinking that the food has fewer calories and less sugar than it actually does. Many people are completely unaware of this serving size scam as it’s easy to presume that the entire container is a single serving, while it may actually consist of two, three or more servings.

Personal Trainer | Bromsgrove | Fitness | Health | Wellbeing