Nearly 80% of people read a food’s nutrition label before buying it (according to a Fox News poll). Furthermore, about half of them will still make the purchase – even if it’s loaded with calories, fat, and sugar. Why? Who knows? Perhaps people want to be in control of their decisions regardless of whether they’re good or bad.
But maybe things would be different if they knew the full story. You see, even though most of us are looking at nutrition facts, few examine the actual ingredients. And it’s that list which will give you the complete picture of just how unhealthy – or even deadly – certain food choices can be.
In fact, if you don’t look beyond the nutrition label, there’s a good chance you’re poisoning your body on a regular basis and don’t even know it. What’s worse is that you’ve been fooled into believing you’re making a healthy decision.
What am I referring to? Trans-fats: the nasty, yet overly abundant, substance that causes cancer, heart disease, and a range of other ailments. But what exactly are trans-fats and why are they so bad?
Trans-fats are vegetable oils (i.e. liquids) that are transformed into a solid substance (fat) by a process known as hydrogenation. Manufacturers add these to a boatload of baked goods because it keeps them fresh longer, and hence, increases their shelf life.
Now this is all good and well for the companies’ bottom-line, but unfortunately our bodies don’t fare equally as well. You see, because trans-fats are not found in nature, we’re not capable of properly metabolizing them. As such, when we ingest them in things such as cookies and crackers, they go on to cause inflammation and disease.
The good news is, food manufacturers have gone to great lengths to reformulate their products and eliminate these deadly fats. But here’s the kicker… they’re still found everywhere (albeit in smaller quantities) even if the label lists 0 grams of trans-fats. What’s worse is that they’re pulling the wool over your eyes with the FDA’s full blessing.
Let me explain…
As long as a product contains less than 0.5 grams of trans-fat per serving, the FDA allows the maker to round down that number to 0 on the label. But here’s the thing… there are no rules regarding serving size. So, all a manufacturer has to do is make that serving size small enough so as to contain 0.49 grams of trans-fat or less, and they can proudly declare 0 on their packaging. And don’t forget, nobody eats just one serving!
In short, you go home happy knowing that you made a healthy decision. But in reality, you’re still digging your own grave, albeit slower. Here’s exactly what I’m talking about:
Pretty sneaky, right?
Alright, so now that you know about these tricks, how can you protect yourself?
For starters, limit the amount of baked goods you eat – especially anything that comes in a package with a long shelf life. Keep in mind that a company’s bottom line will always take precedence over your health. That’s just the way of the world so you have to learn how to deal with it.
Next, read the ingredients – all of them! If you see the words “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” the product contains trans-fat (regardless of what it lists on the label). Now, you might still choose to buy it, but you know what? You’re making a truly informed decision – not one based on lies and trickery. And in the end, I think that’s something you can live with.