Making decisions at the grocery store can be challenging when it comes to understanding food labels that read fat-free, sugar-free and hormone-free. A water company is claiming their water is gluten-free. But nutritionist Monica Salafia reminds consumers that all water is gluten-free.
“Gluten is actually a protein, a protein network really, and water has no protein and it has no gluten. And you're starting to see gluten free labels on everything.”
Salafia says there are dozens of misleading claims hiding on our grocery store shelves. Take fat-free creamer. Yes it’s fat-free, but to compensate for lack of flavor sugar or sugar substitutes are added. The same for sugar-free items. Fat is added to compensate for lack of sugar like sugar-free Oreos. A regular Oreo has 2 grams of fat, but a sugar-free Oreo has 5 grams of fat.
Salafia reminds consumers, “If it’s free of this, what’s being added to make it taste better.”
Another deceiving claim is usually found on products that say 0 grams of trans fat. Sometimes, companies will make their serving size so small making the percentage of trans fat zero, when there is actually some in the product.
Also, when you see the claim hormone-free on chicken products, you should know that the FDA has a mandate that all chicken has to be free of growth hormones.
Lastly, whole wheat is another red flag to watch out for. If the label doesn’t say whole grain, then your product can technically have processed flour in it.
Salafia says, “just because it’s labeled as such doesn’t automatically mean it’s healthier or better for you.”
Although, many of the health claims on food items aren’t false, they can be very misleading. Including the gluten-free water label. In order to be a smart shopper, nutritionists recommend researching the products you love to better understand their health benefits.