Sunday, May 27, 2018

What food manufacturers don’t tell you

Do food manufacturers have secrets they don’t want you to know?  My sister recommended an MSN article on a number of things food manufacturers want to keep secret as outlined in  the article 50 Secrets Food Manufacturers Don’t Tell You That Could Change the Way You Eat.  Some of the changes food manufacturers are making are good for our health.  More manufacturers are cutting back on the added sugar in foods.   Also, manufacturers are reducing the artificial flavors and artificial colors in foods.  For example, Kraft has removed the artificial color in their macaroni and cheese.  Even fast food chains are focusing on healthier options by getting rid of the antibiotics in chicken.   What are some things you should be aware of?

     1.  Crackers – are you being fooled by crackers?  Are crackers healthy?  Most crackers are made from refined flour (white flour) and sugar and salt.  Add some preservatives and you have your typical cracker.  But there are healthier cracker options.  Choosing whole grain crackers is a great way to add some whole grains and nutrition to your day.  Choose Triscuits, Wheat Thins, or other whole grain crackers.  Look at the ingredients for the word “whole” to be sure it is made from whole grain flour.  Don’t be fooled by low-fat.  We were buying low-fat Triscuits for awhile and then my husband noticed the calories per serving weren’t much different than regular Triscuits.  Some Ritz crackers are labeled whole grain but aren’t’ 100% whole grain.  Still they would be a healthier choice than crackers made with enriched flour.  And if you are just starting to eat whole grains, the whole grain Ritz crackers would be a good way to start.  Consumer Reports ranked crackers and some of their recommendations are whole grain options. 
Ritz crackers have some whole grain
     2.  Natural – manufacturers love to fake you out by using the term “natural” on food packages.  Trouble is there is no FDA approved definition of “natural”.  In 2016 FDA polled consumers as to how FDA should define “natural” and how the term “natural” should be used on food labels.  I always think it amazing when white table sugar added to foods can be termed “natural” when it is highly processed and almost devoid of nutrients.  
    3.  Hidden sugar – cutting back on all the added sugar in our diets isn’t easy.  Who doesn’t’ enjoy desserts?  We expect added sugar in our ice cream, cakes, cookies.  But manufacturers sneak added sugar into almost everything.  Look at your catsup bottle, to see the added sugar in the ingredients.  Look at your spaghetti sauce and find the added sugar.  But the label doesn’t have to say “sugar” to have added sugar in the product.  Sugar has many aliases:  high fructose corn syrup, brown sugar, invert sugar, malt syrup, sucrose, cane crystals, dextrose, evaporated cane juice.   It isn’t easy to cut back on the added sugar in your every day foods.   We buy the spaghetti sauce with no added sugar.  We buy the catsup with no high fructose corn syrup.  Yes, it has some cane sugar added but we try to avoid high fructose corn syrup.  Enjoy your desserts but try to cut back on the every day foods that have the added sugar.
Spaghetti sauce with no added sugar
     4. Cheese – who doesn’t love cheese?  Cheese pizza is one of America’s favorite foods.  I love cheese sandwiches for lunch.  But are you buying real cheese?  Try to buy some real American sliced cheese.  Not easy.  What most people buy is a “cheese product”.  Food manufacturers take out some of the real milk and “replace it with processed milk protein concentrate or whey protein concentrate”.  FDA won’t let these manufacturers call this product, “cheese” so the label reads “cheese product”.  We like American cheese and we try to buy “real cheese” and often get the 2% American cheese slices.  
Choose real American Cheese
5.   Multi-grain – doesn’t “multi-grain” sound healthy?  So many people are easily fooled by this term.  Yes, the product has more than one grain, but that doesn’t mean any of the grains are whole grain.  Look at the ingredient list.  If the first word is “enriched” it is not a whole grain product.  It may have some whole grains in it but the healthiest choice would be “whole” as the first word and the first ingredient.  Thus, whole wheat flour or whole rye flour.  Barley and quinoa would be other whole grains.  Some multi-grain crackers are whole grain and these would be a healthy choice.
These Multi-Grain Crackers are 100% whole grain
 So, have you let manufacturers fool you? Check out some labels on the foods you eat to see if food manufacturers have a leg up on you.  Try to buy some real American cheese slices.  Buy some whole grain crackers.  For your next barbecue, buy some catsup without the high fructose corn syrup.

Sources:  article,  FDA, crackers, Sugar, Image sources:  cheese, Ritz, crackers, spaghetti sauce


  1. Replies
    1. Balance is always important. Thanks for your comment.

  2. OBESITY, epidemic which galloping extends in developed countries. "Balance you eat drink and do", but besides... Eat is a non-renouncing pleasure. Solution: together with normal Food Line, to make other Line with FOODS THAT NOT NOURISHING (hyper lights), for example: the "food" cookies have 1000 kcal/pack 200 grs, the "non-food" instead of make them, with wheat-meal, make them with cellulose-meal which is non-assimilable and with artificial sweeteners instead of sugar, and to make them with 100 times less kcal. The challenge is to make them equal of delicious. And make all that non-foods in the same way. Will them achieve it?.

    1. Making lower calorie foods is a good idea. You are right, a challenge is to make them delicious. Eating foods with fiber is more filling. That is why whole grain foods and fresh fruits and vegetables are so filling.