3 Common Misleading Food Labels

We see labels with bright and bold letters on every aisle of the grocery store. From the promise of organic meat, to tasty snacks with “no sugar added”, bright labels are put on our food to catch our attention. But what do these labels really mean? And how accurate is the nutritional value they promote? See what the most common food labels really mean, and what standards the U.S. Food and Drug Administration hold them to.

Cholesterol Free Labels

When foods are labeled as cholesterol-free, know that this is not completely true. According to the Food and Drug Administration, food with this label must contain fewer than 2 milligrams of cholesterol and 2 grams (or less) of saturated fat per each serving.


This means that if you have more than the allotted number of servings you can actually end up consuming a large amount of cholesterol. You should also note that cholesterol comes from food consisting of animal ingredients. Therefore, if you are purchasing packaged food that does not contain meat or dairy, the cholesterol-free label is irrelevant.

Fat-Free Labels

Foods labeled as fat-free must have less than .5 grams of fat per serving according to the Food and Drug Administration. However, selecting foods with the label of being fat-free should not always be considered healthy.


To be sure you are making a healthy choice, you should read the label to see the true nutritional value. These products actually end up being filled with large amounts of sugar, salt, and thickeners. These ingredients make up for the lack of fat. In addition, fat-free foods tend to lead to overeating because your appetite is only temporarily satisfied.

Sugar-Free Labels

For those who try and avoid their sweet tooth, it may seem like foods with a sugar-free label are the answer. However, according to the Food and Drug Administration, these foods are only required to have less than.


5 grams in each serving. So, once again, your sugar consumption is dependent upon sticking to the serving size, however small it may be. In addition, it is important to note that not all sugar is bad. Many foods, such as fruit and milk, are naturally high in sugar but have a counterbalancing nutritional value.

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