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5 Most Confusing Health Halo Food Terms

https://www.health.com/nutrition/5-most-confusing-health-halo-food-terms

health.com

5 Most Confusing Health Halo Food Terms
I frequently meet my clients at their local supermarkets so we can walk the aisles together. Most find it incredibly eye-opening: sometimes what they think they know about which products to select or how to read food labels turn out to be misconceptions. For example, one client recently told me she avoids oats because they contain gluten.

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Natural

Natural

The term is not formally defined by the Food and Drug Administration. But, the government agency doesn't object to the use of the term if the food does not contain added color, artificial flavors, or synthetic substances.

Natural does not mean organic or healthy. So, always read the ingredient list to really know what's in a food.

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Organic

Organic

The term organic doesn't necessarily mean healthy, as evidenced by organic candies and baked goods. Once again, when buying packaged food, the real litmus test is the ingredient list.

The Organic Seal indicates that food was produced without industrialized substances and under humane conditions. It goes from “100% organic” to "Made With Organic Ingredients"(the product was made with a minimum of 70% organic ingredients, with restrictions on the remaining 30%, including no GMOs.)

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Local

Local

There is no formal national definition for the term local. What local does not mean is organic or more nutritious, which is something many believe.

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Gluten-Free

Gluten-Free

“Gluten-free” does not indicate that a food is whole grain, organic, low carb, or healthy. In fact, many gluten-free foods are highly processed and include ingredients like refined white rice, sugar, and salt.

The FDA defines as “gluten-free” the food that limits gluten to less than 20 parts per million (ppm). 

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Grass-Fed

Grass-Fed

Grass-fed does not mean that the cattle's feed is organic, or that they aren’t given hormones or antibiotics

The USDA defines that grass-fed cattle must be fed only mother's milk and forage (grass and other greens) during their lifetime, and the animals must have access to pasture during the growing season.

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100 Calorie Packs

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100% Wheat Bread Or Brown Bread

That doesn’t mean they are made of 100% whole grains. All 3 components (endosperm, germ, and bran) of a grain must be present for it to be classified as a whole grain.

Yogurt

It’s made by adding bacteria to milk, which can soothe several gastrointestinal ailments. But highly sweetened yogurts are like candy in a container instead of a valuable dose of dairy.

Opt for Greek yogurt, which is thicker in texture, and also contains double the amount of protein and less sugar than most yogurts.  

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There is no "best diet"

The “best” diet is a theme: an emphasis on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, and plain water for thirst. 

That can be with or without seafood; with or...

Best foods don’t have labels

Because they are just one ingredient: avocado, lentils, blueberries, broccoli, almonds, etc.

The "Age" of vegetables

The best vegetables are likely to be fresh and locally sourced, but flash frozen is nearly as good (as freezing delays aging). Those “fresh” vegetables that spend a long time in storage or transit are probably the least nutritious.

Organic junk food is still junk food

Organic junk food is still junk food

From a macronutrient perspective, organic junk foods are often identical to their conventional counterparts. 

They tend to be equally high in sugar and low in pro...

Organic isn't always healthy

Many organic brands tend to cater to a health-conscious crowd, meaning they’ll often use less processing or healthier ingredients to appeal to their consumers. But the organic label alone does not guarantee this.

The “health halo” effect

It refers to a scientifically researched phenomenon in which certain claims, such as “low fat” or “made with organic ingredients” can lead us to assume a food is healthier or lower in calories.