As you know, I’m all about reading the label. It’s the most important skill you can learn when it comes to understanding what’s really in your food. After many people responded via Facebook, twitter, and online to my blog post about ingredients in Ranch Dressing I thought I would share another post highlighting how your food isn’t always what it seems to be.
Manufacturers spend enormous amounts of money trying to figure out how to misdirect and mislead you so that you will purchase their product. Leaving aside the issues of packaging inherent in plastic containers, here is a perfect example:
At first glance this seems to be exactly what a juice purchaser might be looking for. 100% in very big letters. 100% juice all together. The 100% directly above large print Wild Cherry. It even says “no sugar added” which more consumers are focusing on. Many people have learned that juice drink is not really juice. And they’ve learned that what they really want is a pure product. So manufacturers are shifting their labeling to try to take advantage of that.
Now for the ingredient panel:
So the first thing we notice is that while the item may be fruit juice it’s mostly from apple, followed by pear. And these juices are from concentrate. The package also lists “natural flavors” which could be any number of things including MSG. Ascorbic acid, despite popular thinking, is not the same as vitamin C. It’s a laboratory version and may not be as well absorbed. It’s also frequently made from corn syrup making it highly likely that this ingredient is genetically modified. Ascorbic acid is often used instead of a more natural form of vitamin C as natural vitamin C tends to break down under the pasteurization process that most juices go through. Ascorbic acid doesn’t, making it the vitamin C additive of choice for most manufacturers.
Obviously what the manufacturer wants to you to believe via the front-of-package labeling is not quite everything that you need to know. Read the label, learn to understand what’s really in your food and become an educated consumer