4 "Healthy" Food Labels You Should Ignore

Grocery store shelves are lined with packaged foods covered in more labels and advertising than one person can process at once. Just like any marketing, food labels can be misleading because they are designed to persuade people to buy the product above all else. Since many people are conscious of the quality of their diet, companies advertise foods as “healthy” to pull those customers in. While some labels are actually indicative of a healthy choice, many, if not most, should just be disregarded. Here are a few common labels worth ignoring:

1. Low-fat

Food companies want us to believe that buying their low-fat foods will improve our health, and will help us lose weight because of the myth that fat is unhealthy. Fat isn’t, in fact, bad for you at all – it’s necessary and actually healthy, so long as it’s the right kind. Low-fat foods are filled with other unhealthy things to compensate, and they don’t fill you up the way full-fat foods do.

2. Sugar-free

While it is best to avoid foods with lots of sugar, the sugar-free alternatives are usually loaded with artificial sweeteners – which are just as bad, if not worse for your health. Artificial sweeteners never taste as good as real sugar, either. If you’re going to consume something sugary, it’s in your best interest to eat the real-sugar version that tastes better anyway.

3. Low-calorie

Calories do a play a role in weight management, but they aren’t quite as important as we previously thought. If a food is marketed as “low-calorie”, but has all kinds of weird ingredients, it probably isn’t doing you any favors. The quality of ingredients and overall nutritional value of a food is vastly more important than the number of calories it possesses.

4. Low-cholesterol

Cholesterol has long been associated with heart disease, so foods are marketed as “low-cholesterol” to appeal to a health-conscious crowd. However, cholesterol itself is actually necessary for the body’s function, and high cholesterol isn’t even caused by diet. Your cholesterol level, in fact, doesn’t have much to do with your risk of heart disease.

While it can be a bummer to learn that buying low-fat versions of foods isn’t actually making a difference in your health, it’s nice to know that you can pick up the full-fat, full-calorie versions of foods that taste better without any guilt.

Image sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5