elitefts™ Sunday Edition

It’s really crappy that food labeling and advertising are so blatantly misleading. I have been researching nutrition and reading labels for the better part of twenty-five years, and sometimes I even get caught reading a label and realizing I have been tricked. If I get caught, you bet your ass that the everyday person is being fooled on a regular basis.

The Food and Drug Administration should be monitoring the nutrition labels of all products on grocery store shelves. I have to wonder if the FDA is so focused on regulating our nutritional supplements that they can’t seem to find the time to look out for the average consumer. Based on what I have seen in the last few months, they certainly don’t seem to be paying much attention to the labels on grocery store shelves.

I get that some of the labeling isn’t a flat-out lie, but these companies are certainly squeezing and bending the truth more than what would be deemed fair or appropriate. You could liken this to a kid holding his finger in another kid's face, and when told to stop the kid responds, “I’m not touching you.” Technically, the kid is right, and he isn’t lying...but he might as well be. There really is little difference.

One of the main things I see that is so confusing for not only the average consumer but also for myself is when a company can’t even get their numbers right in terms of the calories and macronutrients on their labels. Look, I think we all know that one gram of carbs equals four calories. You simply cannot (or should not) list five calories and zero grams of carbs, fat, or protein.  I am not terribly bright, and math wasn’t my forte in school, but I am smart enough to know that this doesn’t add up.

food spread labels ken skip hill 040314

Below you will find four examples I have found over the last few months. Fortunately I remembered to snap some cell phone pictures. If you read these and say something like, “well, those aren’t bodybuilding foods” or “I wouldn’t eat those foods on my diet,” then keep in mind that just because you are so anal that you have to cook your chicken breast on a rotisserie in order for the fat to drip off (because you might get fat cooking a chicken breast any other way), not all of us are like you. We sometimes enjoy variation by putting mayonnaise on a chicken breast sandwich made of whole grain bread, lettuce, and tomato. Plus, if you focus on the foods that I have as examples, then you will miss the point. And the point is this: labeling is misleading. In turn, if it is misleading for these four foods that I came across by accident, then you bet your ass that there are others, and it might end up being something you do eat on a regular basis.

Low-Sodium Soy Sauce

Nice one here, and pretty simple to figure out. When they decided to make the low-sodium version, they simply added more water. Wow. Instead of buying their version of watered-down soy sauce, it would behoove you to buy the regular version. Then, when you get home and go to use it, simply water it down yourself.


I personally use and recommend a mayonnaise that is not a low-fat version because almost anything out there that boasts being low-fat will have added sugar. This is to make up for the loss of taste due to the lack of fat. Salad dressings are notorious for this. Now, I found two low-fat versions from the same company, and one clearly says, “Made with Olive Oil.” I was thinking this was a great way to make a not-so-healthy food quite a bit healthier. How can you go wrong with replacing the soybean oil that is commonly used in mayonnaise with olive oil? Anytime you can change from a polyunsaturated fat (PUFA) to a monounsaturated fat (MUFA), well, that would seem a fair trade. Oh, but wait a minute! When you turn to the ingredient list, you will see that soybean oil is the first oil listed...and then olive oil. That means that the majority of oil is soybean and there is a just a little bit of olive oil. I actually fell for this one and was pissed when I got home and found out I had been duped. Now, in the company's defense, they do make the same product with canola oil, and for some weird reason that one has no soybean oil at all. The only oil used is canola oil. Why they didn’t do that with the olive oil version I have no clue. That it would be more expensive to produce is my best guess. Olive oil is expensive and canola oil is not.

Vibrant Bowl with Breakfast Cereal

Froot Loops (and many other kid cereals out there)

You might not eat kid cereal, but if you are Skiploading, then you do (shameless plug). I recommend my clients use non corn-based cereals, opting more for rice-based cereals. What I stumbled upon was slightly amusing and a very well-played play-on-words. Most cereals have been touting that they are “whole grain” now because this is a catchy phrase that tells clueless moms that the product their kids want for breakfast every morning is "soooo healthy" for them. In big bold letters across the top of many cereal boxes, you will find the words “whole grain.” But then you realize that the main ingredient is corn. That’s right, that whole grain. Technically, they are right. It’s the same situation when the butcher tells you that the beef and chicken he is selling you is fed a “whole grain diet.” In other words, they are fed corn.

Flavored Coffee Creamer

I don’t drink my coffee flavored — and it's not because I am not a foo-foo kind of guy (because I probably am). Based on the comment section after my articles, I most definitely am. No matter, I don’t use flavored creamers. However, Mrs. Skip does. After seeing it in the fridge one day, I checked the label so that I could bust her balls about the calorie content (being married to a nutrition guy sucks on so many levels). Something that immediately caught my attention: the front of the product clearly states in nice big letters that the product is SUGAR-FREE. Well, when you check the nutrition label, it lists one gram of carbs and the serving size is pretty small. If I had to guess, the average person would use probably three times the serving size (and why wouldn’t you if it says sugar-free?). However, upon closer inspection, the first ingredient after water is corn syrup. Um, wow again. It clearly states that it is sugar-free and has one gram of carbs on the label (for a very small serving size), but then it has corn syrup listed as the first ingredient after water. (And water shouldn’t even count as an ingredient anyway).

Sugar cubes

This is how they justify this, and you have to pay close attention and have great eyesight. Looking closer, the corn syrup listed in the ingredient list has two asterisks after it that points to a statement below the label that says, “adds a trivial amount of sugar.” I wonder if a diabetic would feel that it is a “trivial” amount of sugar?

It amazes me what a manufacturer can get away with when it comes to labeling. Where one might be an argument of semantics and not a blatant lie, something like the coffee creamer is, at least to me, a flat-out lie. The company just doesn’t think that it’s enough sugar to count. Well shit, let’s see if I can all of a sudden not count the calories in Krispy Kreme doughnuts for my clients.. We will see how far that gets me.

Do your homework and pay attention to not only the nutritional numbers on a label but also to the ingredient list. In turn, learn what is in the foods you eat or the foods you are feeding your kids. The manufacturer should be responsible for labeling their products accurately, but obviously they aren’t doing that. Ultimately, the responsibility is on you, the consumer, to learn what is in the food you are consuming so that you can make solid choices about what goes into your body.

Just sayin'.