Ignore the Marketing and Read the Label

Weight loss tip: ignore the marketing, read the label and check the serving size. Food companies use many tricks to make their food seem healthy. Don’t fall for it!

If you are trying to watch what you eat, you need to be alert and observant. Food companies know that you want want healthy food. But be very careful: often the foods that look and sound healthiest may actually be the the most unhealthy. Here are some tips to help you outsmart the often deceptive food marketing.

Watch out for foods that pretend to be healthy.

Make wise choices. Many unhealthy foods, drinks and snacks are cleverly marketed as being healthy choices.

Ignore the Marketing in the Store

Food makers hire some pretty smart marketing folks to make their food look healthy — even when it isn’t.

Check out this picture (at right) of a display case in the GNC section at a local Rite Aid Pharmacy. What are they selling as “fitness drinks?” They are pitching 5-hour Energy, 6-Hour Power, Monster Energy Drink, and Vitamin Water.

The energy shots are obviously not going to keep you fit — they’ll just keep you awake. The Monster Energy Drink? That’s got 54 grams of sugar and 200 calories. The Vitamin Water? That sure sounds healthy. But it’s got 32 grams of sugar and 120 calories. Ouch.

Drink those “fitness drinks” all day and you’ll be putting on the pounds. When making smart choices about what you eat and drink, ignore the marketing.

Ignore the Marketing on the Label

Deceptive (or outright false) marketing is not limited to stores. Food labels are even worse.

Let’s look at a bottle of Lipton Iced Tea. It’s “100% Natural with pomegranate, blueberry, and other natural flavors.” There are also nice pictures of a pomegranate and some blueberries — two super healthy foods that are full antioxidants. And tea itself is a pretty healthy drink. So, how could you go wrong?

Well, read the label and you’ll see that this “healthy” looking drink has 33 grams of sugar and 130 calories. And, it “contains no juice.” Bummer. That means there are zero antioxidants from the pomegranate and the blueberries. And since real tea has zero calories, this bottle of Lipton tree looks like it’s only good for one thing — making you fat.

Check the Serving Size and Servings Per Container!

One of the sneakiest label tricks is a deceptive serving size. To be fair, the Lipton Iced Tea label was pretty honest. It clearly showed the nutrition facts for the entire bottle. But how about a can of super popular Arizona Tea?

Take a look at this Arizona Green Tea packaging. Like the Lipton Iced Tea, it sure looks healthy.

For starters. Green tea is actually one of the healthiest things you can drink. Ginseng and honey sound pretty healthy, too. The label also says “all natural” and shows some healthy, zen looking fruit tree blossoms. This must be good for you!

But again, looking at the label shows otherwise. It’s got 17 grams of sugar and 70 calories. That’s not so great, considering that real green tea has zero calories. But it’s not horribly bad.

But wait! Look a little closer, and you’ll see that the label shows nutrition facts for only one serving. Look more closely and you’ll see that can holds 3 servings! I don’t expect many people to drink one third of a can and throw away the rest. So this can actually has 51 grams of sugar and 210 calories.

Wow. Regularly drinking Arizona Green Tea will surely help you add a few pounds to your waistline. Ouch.

Weight Loss Tip: Read the Labels and Make Wise Choices

These are just a few examples of the ways food companies try to trick you into buying their products. Take a trip to any store and you’ll quickly find many more examples, especially in the snack and drink aisles.

But you’ll be able to make smart, healthy choices if you just look at the labels carefully. Ignore the marketing and go straight to the ingredients list and nutrition facts, and you’ll be able to easily distinguish between the foods that look healthy and the foods that really are healthy.

Have you found any particularly deceptive packaging labels? Do you have any tips for making healthy food, drink, and snack choices? Share them by leaving a comment below.

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