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The Most Common Tricks Food Labels Use to Deceive You

Food labels can be misleading. You might think your food contains healthy ingredients, and then upon further investigation, you find out you’ve been eating junk. If you have trouble making sense of food labels, you’re not alone.

Roughly 59% of consumers across the globe said they have difficulty understanding nutrition labels, according to a Nielsen survey. Approximately 7% of respondents said they don’t understand nutrition labels at all. If you need assistance understanding what’s in your food, The Cheat Sheet is here to help. Here are some commonly misunderstood food labels.

Sugar free

Young girl eating a lot of food

Young girl eating a lot of food We’re sure there’s sugar in that. | iStock.com/KatarzynaBialasiewicz

Just because a food is labeled “sugar free” doesn’t mean there is absolutely no sugar in it. The term sugar free actually means there is less than 0.5 grams of sugar per serving, according to Federal Department of Agriculture guidelines. If you see “no sugar added” on the other hand, this usually means that the product already contains a naturally occurring sweetener; nothing has been added to make it sweet. One example is lactose in an ice cream labeled “no sugar added.”

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