Jack Sprat Might Eat Some Fat Due To Misleading Food Labels

You cannot judge a food by it's bottle, you need to know how to read food labels to know if the food you are buying is healthy.
You cannot judge a food by it's bottle, you need to know how to read food labels to know if the food you are buying is healthy. (Photo: Michael Israel)

If Jack Sprat was told by his cardiologist to reduce his fat intake, he could get tricked by the misleading practices used by companies that produce the foods we eat so that they can market foods that are very high in fat as being low in fat. Jeff Novick talks about some of the tricks that are used to make food labels that mislead consumers into thinking that a high-fat food is a low-fat food. One trick is to list the amount of fat in the product by weight when it is the percent of calories from fat that is essential to know for healthy eating.

A person must minimize the amount of calories from fat eaten in a day to ensure the prevention of coronary disease. (Infographic: Michael Israel)

Another trick is to make the nutritional labeling as confusing as possible so that an average consumer like Jack Sprat would have a hard time reading the labels on most food products. Jeff Novick says that “they are listing fat three different ways by three different systems in one section of the labels on packages of food. Now is that helpful or confusing? You think that’s done by accident.”

Instructions teaching kids how to read a food label.
Instructions that teach kids how to read all food labels. (Infographic: Food and Drug Administration.)

Most major food processing companies water down foods so that they can sell foods that have a very high-fat content as being almost free of fat. According to Jeff Novick “if you take the weight of the fat divided by the weight of the serving you could sell a product that is 100% fat as being 99% fat-free.” The dark sorcery of manipulating the weight of the product to make a high-fat product seem to have less fat than it actually has is how some fat-free products get produced. Mr. Novick says that “salt and sugar and maybe a thickener are added to the product so that consumers don’t notice the dilution.”

Another trick used by the dark sorcerers that are after Jack Sprat is to manipulate the serving size so that they can round the amount of fat in the product down to zero on nutritional labels that are used on product packaging. Pam which is a cooking spray that is 100% fat is listed as fat-free cooking because the serving size is so small. According to Ted Barnet if you want to list a product that has trans-fat or any other type of fat as being listed as having no trans-fat or fat-free “you just need to make your serving size small enough” because any nutrient that is “.5 grams or less can be rounded down to 0.” Because of misleading nutritional labels on some products, looking for the words hydrogenated or partly hydrogenated on an ingredient list is the only way to ensure that a food product is not free of any trans-fats.

About MIchael Israel 22 Articles
My job as a journalist is to make sure the government is kept in check, so it starts to help and not to dominate its citizens.