Cereals With Healthy Descriptive Words May be Unhealthy

May 20, 2019

© Suzanne Tucker | Dreamstime

A walk down the cereal aisle of the grocery store and you'll notice just about every box and bag has buzzwords of "wholesome," or "all natural" in its description. But here's the truth, at least according to a new report in the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, are these claims aren't indicators of any actual health benefits at all. In fact many of these words are not regulated, which means they can be used in deceptive ways. While boxes of cereal contain words like "no additives" or "high in vitamins," it doesn’t necessarily mean they're good for your overall health. Researchers analyzed more than 600 box of cereal to try and determine whether a product's marketing claim were supported by actual health benefits, like weight loss. Turns out it’s not all the time accurate. We gravitate towards buzzwords believing they are better for us in reality they may be less healthy. Researchers found in their work that consumers believe foods labeled as "homemade" or made with "no preservatives" are more delicious. Cereals that are labeled "low fat," "low sugar," or "light" are believed to help you lose weight. That isn't always true. For example, a product labeled "sugar free," according to the government, means the product doesn’t have refined cane sugar. However it can contain other “natural” sweeteners like agave or brown rice syrup, artificial sweeteners, or sugar alcohols. So you may think the product has no sugar when in reality there is sugar in it. "All-natural" is another buzzword we associate with health.  In the eyes of regulation, "natural" simply means foods do not contain added color, artificial flavors, or synthetic substances. However that doesn't mean it's healthy. "No artificial additives" sounds healthy but according to the FDA, artificial ingredients are those that are “not found in nature and therefore must be synthetically produced as artificial ingredients.” But it doesn't cover ingredients are “found in nature,” but they can be produced more economically when they’re produced artificially. Multigrain is another word we perceive as healthy.  However the term simply means there are different types of grains present, but most are refined.  When a grain is refined, the husk and outer layers of the grain are removed taking away much of the heathy nutrients and fiber associated with "multigrain." It is why you should always look past the marketing buzzwords and review the food label to find out exactly what is in the food you are buying. In general the longer the list on ingredients, the more refined it may be and much of the health claims on the front of the box may not be entirely true on the back.  

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SOURCE: Men's Health

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