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Packaging Claims: What to Believe?

Packaging Claims: What to Believe?

Natural … Good For You … Healthy … Low Calorie … Low sugar

What do these phrases actually mean?

When we named our brand Read The Ingredients, it was a conscious decision that we wanted to inform you, the consumer, about how important it is to know what you are putting in your body.

Perhaps we should have called our brand Read The Back of The Package.  



Go into the store and look at the packaging and messaging of packaged products. You will frequently see the words mentioned above: All Natural … Good For You … Healthy … Low Calorie … Low Sugar. Often the front of the package will call out the grams of protein, the grams of fiber, the grams of sugar with the implication that these numbers imply the product is healthy.

The consumer who just read the latest article on the importance of fiber will buy that granola that advertises high fiber on the front of the package, and neglect to read the back of the package where the amount of sugar is very high. Then there’s the package of cookies that advertise low calorie but when the consumer looks on the back of the package they find out that the serving size is 1 cookie. Finally there is the protein bar or protein powder that claims in bold print low sugar or zero sugar, and if the consumer reads the ingredients panel, they would find out that the products are sweetened with sugar substitutes that are known to be unhealthy, and in many cases don’t taste good.



So let’s pick apart these ‘marketing terms’:

Natural – in order to make this claim, the product just needs to have a natural base. “Natural Flavorings” in raspberry flavored soda water is a good example. Very often the flavoring has some natural raspberry in it, and flavor enhancers that were derived in a lab.

Good For You or Healthy – If there is one aspect of the product’s nutritional panel (i.e. fiber, protein, etc.) the claim is made. In reality, you need to read the back of the package to find out what is in the product that is not so healthy, such as additives, GMO ingredients, or lots of salt, sugar or unhealthy fats.

Low Calorie – compared to what? What is the serving size? What nutrition are you getting from those calories? We are overly sensitive to the calorie count. In fact, it has become a law that packaged products are required to have the calorie count in larger, bolder print than any of the other required nutrients. When the brand markets as low calorie … need I say more?

Low Sugar – not only do we need to understand what the serving size is, we need to examine what ingredients were used to sweeten the product. We know that many consumers would prefer sweet foods, and in fact have a sugar addiction.



The reality is that many claims that are made on the front of a package do not need to be validated. This is why, as a consumer, we need to know how to read all the labels and decide for ourselves, if the product really is “Healthy and Natural”.

We really believe in our brand, Read The Ingredients, for the integrity of our products, but we want the consumer to understand that Read The Ingredients really means Read the Back of the Package. Do not be fooled by the misleading terms on the front of the package.


Written by Bobbi Giudicelli - Co-Founder of Read The Ingredients, and author of “Freedom From a Toxic Relationship With Food: A Journey That Will Give You Your Life Back”. Bobbi tells her story that led to her creating the recipes of the Read The Ingredients Superloafs. She is passionate about sharing the gift of a vital, active life at any age.
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