Natalie Mitlyansky, DC, ND, MD

Cracking the Food Label Code

Cracking the Food Label Code

In a perfect world, you would be able to take the claims on packaged food labels at face value. In a real world you can not. Many people thinking that all label terms are regulated by law. The fact is, some labeling terms are regulated and some are not. To eat healthy you need to know the difference.
To help you become a savvier shopper, use this guide to decipher the truth behind common label claims.

Zero Trans Fat

What you think it means:
The cookies, crackers, or other packaged snacks are free of trans fats.
What it really means:
To make this claim item must contain less then 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving, according to Food and drug Administration ( FDA) guidelines. Manufactures know that showing any amount of trans fat on a label means it likely will not sell because trans fat is now widely considered
one of the unhealthiest food ingredients.
Food makers get around this by listing nutritional information for a tiny serving size that no one would actually eat. But if you end up eating four times that amount – which often is a reasonable portion-you would consume close to 2 grams of artery-clogging trans fat.
Savvy shopping strategy:
Look at ingredients list, if you see “hydrogenated oil” or “ shortening” listed, this product contains trans fat, which means your best bet is to put it back on the shelf.

All Natural

What you think it means:
The item is healthy and good for you.
What it really means:
The term “all natural” has no legal definition, says Gayl Canfield, director of nutrition at the Pritikin Longevity Center in Miami. It is really designed to give the pudding, cereal, ice-cream, or other processed food a wholesome image. This product can have added chemicals ( including preservatives),an still be labeled “all natural”.
Savvy shopping strategy:
Read the nutritional facts panel on the back of the package to know real nutritional value, instead of being distracted by the claims of naturalness.

Reduced Sugar

What you think it means:
The jams, jellies labeled “reduced sugar” or “no sugar added” are low in calories and good for you.
What it really means:
“Reduced sugar” means the product has 25% less sugar than the product 's original form.
“Low sugar” is not a regulated term, so it does not mean anything.

Savvy shopping strategy:
Check the grams of sugar on the nutrition facts panel.
Remember: 4 grams of sugar equals approximately 1 teaspoon of sugar, so choosing a cereal with 16 grams of sugar per serving is like dropping 4 teaspoons of sugar into your bowl.
Sugar goes by many other names including molasses, evaporated cane juice, fruit juice concentrate, honey, syrup, or anything ending with “ose” (as sucrose, dextrose, fructose, or maltose).


What you think it means:
The food is loaded with whole grains and fiber.
What it really means:
This food contain two or more different grains, such as rice, oats, wheat or corn. This does not mean they are whole grains, which are the healthiest kind and source of fiber and minerals.
Savvy shopping strategy: To make sure you are getting a whole grain product, look to the nutrition information panel for the word “whole “. Also, look for the Whole Grain Stamp of approval from the Whole grain Council. The stamp means this product contain at least 8 grams of hole grain in a serving.

Low calorie

What you think it means:
Foods labeled “low calorie”, “light”, or “reduced fat” have a health halo because they are low in fat , calories and sugar.
What it really means: Low calories means food contains 40 calories or less per serving, it sounds good if this serving will satisfy you. The light label could mean lighter flavor, texture, and color, but the same number of calories as the original version. Sometimes it means “low calories” or “low fat”-less then 3 grams per serving. In other words it does not have a strict definition. A 'reduced fat” means that this product contains 25 % less fat then original product.
While reduced- fat peanut butter does contain less fat then original, many manufacturers typically add sodium and sugar to make up for the loss of flavor.
So, shop wisely, it will benefit your health!
Have very nice Holidays!
Natalie Mitlyansky D.C., N. D.


If you are among the 59 % of Americans who regularly sip diet drinks, it is time for a change.

A ground-breaking big study says that the artificial sweeteners in zero calorie soda change your digestive system bacteria in ways that rise your blood sugar levels.
When three artificial sweeteners -saccharine, sucralose, and aspartame were given to mice (in a study ) for 11 weeks, the animal's ability to transfer sugar in to their cell diminished, and their gut microflora changed for the worse. In a big human study was found that if you drink even one diet soda a day, you boost your ability to develop metabolic syndrome -a precursor of diabetes, and heart disease, in 34-44%.
Higher heart -health risks.
Older women who sipped two or more diet drinks daily had a 30% higher risk for a heart attack was found in a recent University of Iowa study of 59, 614 women.
Triggers more food cravings
People who had diet drinks were more likely to think about and eat high-calorie, sugary snacks, was found in a new study from Texas Christian University.
They do not help you to loos weight, and may do the opposite!
In several large studies of adults and kids, diet soda drinkers gained more weight over several years than those who sipped regular soft drinks or none at all.
So, what to drink?
Water- the best, women need 8-9 glasses a day, men -11 glasses a day. Add a squeeze of lemon or lime
or brew your own tea. You can add lime, orange, strawberry, cucumber to make your iced tea. Herbal teas will be good too: camomile, peppermint, lavender, easy to make and very good for your body.
Drink smart!
Natalie Mitlyansky D.C.,N.D.