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Don’t we all embrace the good feel of packaging taglines, nutrition claims and even celebrate in their valuable benefits? Yet how often do we check on the integrity of these food labels?

Most people tend to think that there is a bigger force out there to keep check on the truth behind labels. And most often they are right! In Malaysia, Ministry of Health authorities has a special department specifically looking into consumer product labelling. Still, there are many grey areas that leaves one up to interpretation and we look at some interesting ones we chanced upon here:

Natural, More Natural or 100% Natural?

Bottled Milk Tea with a 100% natural label

We will not go into details on this bottle of 100% natural labelled milk tea, but with non-dairy creamer as part of the picture (pun intended), perhaps the 100% is more than a pinch of salt.

Corn Syrup, Sugar, Brown Sugar or Honey? Who’s the bad guy really? Make a guess!

Labels showing efforts by Manufacturer to exclude “bad” ingredients

Perhaps we are a little sugar phobic, but when it comes to the word sugar, we generally have more say on this subject than others. If you want to know why, do check out our range of low sugar beverages.

Want to know the straightforward answer? All forms of refined sugar are not good, followed by the brown, cane and honey sweeteners. Why are they bad then, you may ask, since they occur naturally? Well, sugar in them is the culprit! Albeit “more” natural with slightly more nutrients, cane sugar or even honey when consumed in excess, will disturb the blood absorption of minerals and nutrients. Hence, unless they are natural sugar replacements, sweet but not metabolised like sugar, in a nutshell, all forms of sugar will impact on your nutrient absorption over a long period of time. We will explain more about natural sugar replacements in my next post!

Image borrowed from Naked Food Magazine’s article on 13 Most Misleading Food Label Claims

Rule of thumb: when in doubt, just look at the ingredients list. Generally speaking, less is more. String of unrelated alphabets and numbers usually mean chemicals and things not found naturally.

The Pharmacist-in-me makes me rather uptight about my drinks and dessert marketing claims. In fact, I’d dare say this profession trains us to feel queasy over over-the-tops claims and a stickler for truth. You will be lucky enough to strike million dollars sweepstake if you catch me sprouting words like “100% additives free” or “absolutely clean food’!

To conclude, Food Labels are treats to the mind, tricks to the body! Be discerning and trust your instincts. Having tried many “natural” claiming products, I can safely vouch that nature triumphs! The higher percentage of natural ingredients, the tastier it is to the usual human palate.

Try it for yourself!