The other day my sister bought some honey that came in a cute little bear shaped bottle. Sounds innocent enough. The bottle said HONEY in big bold letters on the front right? Well when she looked a little closer she realised that in small letters underneath the big HONEY label were the words ‘Flavoured Syrup’!

What the…? I’d never heard of honey-flavoured syrup before then. That’s just ridiculous! 

One of the latest health food causing a stir at the moment is quinoa. It’s a nutritionally dense grain that’s been around for ages and well-known by health conscious people but as a food that’s commonly known by the average Joe it’s fairly new to making a claim as a super-food and has therefore become a marketable commodity. I wasn’t surprised then when I saw in the shops the other day ‘Quinoa’ bread. I knew that it wasn’t going to be 100% quinoa but still it surprised me when I turned the bread over to read the back label and found it had something like 0.8% quinoa added! Don’t quote me but it was something around there, I’m just going off memory.

What’s next? Oh yeah, we were travelling for a few hours in the car the other day (with kids in tow) and so I pulled over to a nearby convenience store and quickly grabbed the healthiest thing I could find that the kids would also enjoy as a ‘treat’. I went with ‘Honey Popcorn’. I knew the sugar content would be high but I thought, “It’s a once in a full moon treat.” Even though I knew it wasn’t going to be the healthiest choice on the planet it still blew me away when, after helping the kids devour the whole bag of popcorn, I read the actual ingredient listing. You’d expect the honey and popcorn to top the percentage of volume in the bag right? Well I did. The popcorn turned out to take up about 10% of the volume and the honey about the same. That left 80% for ingredients such as corn syrup and glucose and who knows what else.

Anyway, it pays to read your labels before buying. A good rule to follow is that if the ingredient list contains lots of numbers, weird chemically sounding names or sugar, salt or saturated fat is high on the list, leave it alone!

I’ve listed a few buzzwords that are used on the front of packaging to suck us in and provided some definitions.

"Made from Natural Ingredients"

This is one of the biggest tricks used by food companies. It’s really a ‘Duh’ statement. Most food products start from at least some natural ingredients. The process of taking the natural food to what you find in that bag, box or can etc. can end up as anything but natural food. 

"No Artificial Ingredients"  

Okay, but what is the actual nutritional value of the product? What process have these natural ingredients gone through? 

"Fortified, Extra, Enriched, Plus, Added…"

Generally, this means that the food has been processed, changed, or had goodness ‘sucked’ out of it in the first place. Seriously, if the food was healthy in the first place why would it need to be injected with ‘Added Vitamins’? 

"Fruit Drink or With Real Fruit"

If it uses this term rather than fruit ‘juice’ then be aware that it probably contains very little to no actual juice and a lot of extra sugar and colouring. 
"Made with Wheat, or Rye or Spelt or Quinoa or Multi-Grains etc..."

This often means that while it can provide a good source of whole grains, how much whole grain is actually in the product can only really be determined by reading the back label. Look for the term ‘100% Whole Grain’ or even just ‘Whole Grain’ (without the ‘Made with’ precursor).

"No Added Sugar"

This doesn’t mean that there’s been no other artificial or even other source of natural sweetener added that can be as bad or worse for you than cane sugar.

"Full of Energy"

It’s full of sugar. 

"Lite or Light"

This can mean a number of things: 

It could mean that this product has fewer calories, less fat or less sodium than its non-light version. It could also just mean that the food is clearer in colour! What we have to be aware of is just because it has, let’s say less-fat than it’s counterpart, that can often mean the adding of other ingredients such as sugar to replace the taste that goes missing. 
This weeks vid – after gaining knowledge about a few of the ‘dirty’ tricks used by food companies, I thought I’d show you some cool party tricks to lighten the mood!