Food Labels: Lies Disguised As Health

Food Labels, Natural Flavors, Flavoring, MSG

Have you ever gone to the store and picked out a ‘health food’ because it says, “free of preservatives, no artificial ingredients or no MSG”? Most of us have and we think we are making the smart choice. The fact that you’re even looking at the labels puts you ahead of the game and means that you’re probably making a SMARTER choice.

Unfortunately, it’s not enough.  😥

Food labels are filled with a bunch of lies. They go by a ‘close enough to truth’ rationale and it is up to you to put your scientist lab coat on and break out the beakers to figure out what all these big scientific names really mean.

First things first, read the ingredient list! Not just the big lettered list of what isn’t included because that’s the marketing ploy, not the actual story. It’s probably going to come as a big fat disappointment how little these popular food manufactures care about what goes in our food. They are looking for any and all short cuts they can take which usually means getting as much artificial crap in their products that the FDA (the same FDA that doesn’t required the labeling of GMO crops on packaging) will still allow them to use those buzz words I mentioned above. The truth is about 25% of the ingredients can be artificial to still boast that “all natural” label!

So who polices these labels to make sure they are only adding in that 25% or that they are even adding in what they said to get that ‘Natural’ label? Why, the food manufactures themselves. That seems like a good checks and balance system there. (That’s sarcasm folks! And there should be a universal font for that!)

Here are a few FACTS about those seemingly harmless labels:

Natural Flavors- This means it must be derived from nature, usually a plant. But what does that word mean, ‘derived’? To be straight forward it means processed! It means to take something from nature and process, refine it into something else. It’s still a science experiment (you are the guinea pig) and is no less harmful than artificial flavors. On top of that, if the ‘natural flavor’ is derived from a GMO crop, food manufacturers can still label it as natural even though GMO crops are anything but natural.

Why do that?? Well that’s a loaded question and trust me, you aren’t going to like the answer. Enhance flavor (duh!), enhance smell, literally change the way you experience food so that you keep going back for more. Big food manufactures want you to be addicted to their foods! I don’t think I need to explain why. We’ve all heard of MSG- yea, that’s natural flavoring.  It’s in most processed foods and it has lots of different names.

Some common names for MSG (Monosodium Glutamate): Glutamic Acid, Yeast Extract, Sodium hydrogen glutamate, monopotassium glutamate, glutamate, autolyzed yeast, yeast food, yeast nutrient, hydrolyzed protein (vegetable, animal or plant protein). The list goes on and on. There are 25 different names for MSG. Think about it, if it’s not harmful to us then why hide what it is in all these science-y names, why not just call it what it is.

*Bolded words are most popular

Check out this website for a list of foods that contain MSG or glutamic acid- which is different but does the same thing and acts the same way in your body so we’ll just call it MSG’s twin sister.

(Seriously, check it out. I’m sorry in advance for what you are about to see!)

So what is included in natural flavoring?

Like I said, it’s anything derived from nature. As innocent as that sounds, if it was that innocent we wouldn’t be concerned about the meaning. When I say nature, I’m not just talking about plants and vegetables. Nope, you have to include bugs and animals in there too because they are part of nature. This is going to freak you out but bones, those are natural too so they are fair game when it comes to food labels. If you are eating something that is a color or a texture that you wouldn’t expect it to be, you can guarantee there are some food additives in there.

Think of it this way, if the ‘natural flavoring’ was just juice from an orange or oil from an oregano plant, then why wouldn’t they just say that? That sounds a lot less suspicious than ‘natural flavor’.

A couple other names you might see on food labels that are in the ‘natural flavoring’ category:

BHA, BHT and Propyl Gallate.

Ok, so what do we do?

Eat whole, real foods! Stay away from as much processed food as possible! Read the labels and figure out what the heck is in your food. You are in control of what goes in your body, not food manufactures and not the FDA! Look for products that only have 5 ingredients or less and the ingredients should make sense. I recently picked up some dill pickles that had a green dye added and of course natural flavors. I don’t care if my pickles are bright green, I just want them to taste salty and delicious. I don’t need green dye added or any flavor added. Let my pickles be pickles!

This website lists the Food Companies that are in support for GMO food labeling and I would start with checking the labels on their products. (Just to help narrow things down) In general, companies that support food labeling have nothing to hide so they might be a good bet when it comes to packaged foods. On the other end, the website lists companies that oppose food labeling and some of them gave A LOT of money to make sure consumers don’t know what’s in their products. I would try to steer clear of them. (Some of them might surprise you!) Also, a lot of those companies own organic brands and have probably taken advantage of the lack of policing going on in the food labeling laws. They apparently have a lot to hide.

Check it out!


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