Food companies want to fool you. Using label lingo and vague health claims, they often make their products appear healthier than they really are. These companies aren't technically lying – that would get them into trouble with the Food and Drug Administration, which regulates food labels. But thanks to several gaping FDA loopholes, they can get away with plastering all kinds of misleading info on labels. Here's what to watch out for.
As with "zero trans fat," a product can claim to be "sugar-free" if it has less than 0.5 grams of sugar per serving. But serving sizes can be miniscule, meaning when you ate that bag of sugar-free cookies, you really consumed 4 grams of sugar. Also, sugar-free foods can be loaded with carbohydrates such as maltodextrin, which raise blood sugar just the same. Or they may contain sugar alcohols such as mannitol or sorbitol, which have fewer calories than refined sugar but still add up fast.
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