bite my words

Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving

Don’t judge a food by its box

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Was just reading this article about the CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) ending their inspection program for products making nutritional claims. My initial reaction to this pronouncement is mixed. Obviously, it’s not to our benefit (as consumers) to have this information unregulated. From the sounds of it food manufacturers will now be able to put pretty much whatever they want on packaging, as far as nutritional claims go, unless someone files a complaint with the CFIA. At the same time, we shouldn’t be relying on packaging to provide us with our nutrition education. Nor should we be purchasing many packaged foods in the first place. I believe that it was Michael Pollan who recommended that we not purchase foods that make nutritional claims on their packages. It may be a little extreme to go this far, but he does have a valid point. Why on earth would we trust food packaging when it’s clearly designed to convince us to buy foods. It’s just another marketing tool for the food industry. There may be some truth in some of the claims. However, you need to look farther than the front of the package. I suggest purchasing foods in as minimally processed a state as possible. When you are buying packaged foods, read the nutrition facts panel, compare different brands. Also, look at the top and bottom shelves. Eye-level shelves are premium spots at grocery stores and manufacturers pay a premium price to have their products placed there. You may find a healthier version at a lower price on a lower shelf. Remember: it’s not what’s on the box that counts, it’s what’s inside the box.

Author: diana chard

I'm a registered dietitian living in Nova Scotia, Canada. My goal is to help people relearn how to have a healthy relationship with food.

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