Teach yourself to decipher labels at the supermarket – and make wiser choices, our Perth fitness trainer says.
The food industry these days is rife with catchphrases making you think you’re buying ‘healthier’ foods. Don’t get suckered into thinking that ‘lite,’ ‘organic’ and ‘natural’ really mean what you think they do.
It’s all in the marketing
Clever food manufacturers have jumped on the ‘healthy’ bandwagon, even if said products aren’t any healthier than the original versions. The word ‘organic,’ within the last 10 years, has come to the forefront of the industry. Savvy marketers know the mere mention of ‘organic’ foods appeals to those who consciously choose not to consume pesticide-laden foods. Non-GM (non genetically modified) is another buzz phrase that has caught on, especially in the United States, where ‘frankenfoods’ are created thanks to the wonders of chemistry.
Is it organic or not?
That’s one important question to ask, especially if you’re intent on eating only organic foods. Sadly, what is labelled ‘organic’ may not always be so, at least to the standards you’re expecting. In Australia, a product is only 100% organic if it’s labelled with the Australian Certified Organic mark. If the food product you’re looking at claims to be organic but doesn’t bear this certification, then be wary.
True Australian Certified organic foods are free from GMs from beginning to end, including the soil they’re grown in and the fertilisers used to grow them, as well as having been produced without negatively affecting the environment.
Is it natural or not?
The word ‘natural’ is the most misused word in the food industry. Who wouldn’t want to eat something that claims to be ‘all natural,’ having been borne of the earth? Think again, because natural often means only one component of the product is truly natural. Your strawberry ice cream might claim to be natural, even if only the strawberries themselves are. The rest of the ice cream might be composed of chemicals and fillers – definitely not natural.