Be Wary of These Top 5 Label Claims

Beware of these five misleading claims found on food packaging.

Trying to be a health-conscious shopper but confused by all of the info plastered on food packaging? Beware of these common misleading claims.

1. Cholesterol Free

Don’t be overly impressed by plant-based foods marked “cholesterol free.” All nuts, dried food and even potato chips are naturally free of cholesterol. As recently identified by the U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, paying attention to saturated and trans fats is more important for heart health.

2. Trans-Fat Free

By now it’s common knowledge that trans fats aren’t a healthy choice for heart health. The problem is that it’s hard to find where they might be hiding in your food. Current labeling laws say that any value less than 0.5 grams of fat per serving can be marked as zero grams. Yes, even if the label reads “0 grams” of trans fat per serving, there can still be trace amounts that can add up in several servings or over time. So for now, the best way to detect trans fat content is to check the ingredient list for hydrogenated oils and partially hydrogenated oils.

3. Natural

The average consumer may identify the word "natural" as meaning "healthy" or "unprocessed," but the truth is that this term on food packaging says nothing about the quality of the food. The real truth can be found by carefully reading the ingredient list.

4. Omega-3

Foods containing Omega-3 fats are in high demand because these important fatty acids help promote memory, immunity, skin health, vision and heart health. In this case the details really matter. The EPH and DHA form of Omega-3 fats are the fats associated with those benefits, while another common ALA form has less powerful qualities. Check foods carefully to see which type of Omega-3 fats they offer.

5. Non-GMO

Until now the only way to know whether a food was genetically modified or not was if it was organic (organic foods cannot be GMO). Some companies have made voluntary efforts to disclose their non-GMO status, but this leaves a lot open to interpretation. Recently the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a new “Process Verified Seal,” in which participating companies can go through a series of steps to verify their processing and then feature the logo on their products. While this certification cannot completely guarantee that a product is GMO free, it can help consumers select companies that have made minimizing the use of GMOs a priority. It will also add to the options already available by the existing Non-GMO Project Seal ( For more information visit the USDA website. (link

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Label Claims: Too Good to Be True?

Some labels try to make not-very-healthy foods seem like they’re nutritious, while others take healthy food and make them less nutritious. What should you believe?

Top 5 Label Tricks and How To Avoid Them

Food labels are carefully worded to entice shoppers to choose certain items. A study published in the Journal of Consumer Research found dieters fall for simple labeling tricks that make them believe certain foods are healthier than they are. Find out the top 5 labeling traps and how to avoid them.


The Pioneer Woman

9:30am | 8:30c

Cupcake Wars

10am | 9c

Cake Wars

11am | 10c

Cake Wars

12pm | 11c

The Pioneer Woman

1:30pm | 12:30c

Beat Bobby Flay

2:30pm | 1:30c

Beat Bobby Flay

3:30pm | 2:30c

Beat Bobby Flay

4:30pm | 3:30c

Beat Bobby Flay

5:30pm | 4:30c

Beat Bobby Flay

6:30pm | 5:30c


7pm | 6c


9pm | 8c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Beat Bobby Flay

10pm | 9c

Beat Bobby Flay

10:30pm | 9:30c

Beat Bobby Flay

11:30pm | 10:30c


12am | 11c

Beat Bobby Flay

1:30am | 12:30c

Beat Bobby Flay

2:30am | 1:30c

Mystery Diners

4:30am | 3:30c

Food Network Apps

In the Kitchen

Get over 70,000 FN recipes on all your mobile devices.

Facebook Messenger

Ask our bot for recipes, meal ideas and daily food trivia.

Amazon Echo

Just say "Alexa, enable Food Network skill" to get started.