Reading-not just looking- At Packages and Labels

I really want to share some information with everyone about label and food-package reading. I don’t want you to fall prey to the marketing tricks that are out there…like I did this week. I am a bit ashamed to admit that I fell victim to one of these tricks; however, I am using it as a prime example of how anyone can be misled. I’m even studying this stuff and I got misled. Here’s my story:

I decided to switch breads because my usual bread has recently gone up in price (what hasn’t these days?) so I decided to grab a new bread for a cheaper cost. After pouring over bread costs, brands, fiber content, etc for far too long, it finally came down to two brands. I decided to go with the brand I was more familiar with. I grabbed the bread and left. Mistake #1…I didn’t read the label. I think because I was so wrapped up in the fact that I was taking too long in the first place to just pick a bread, that I decided it would be best for my sanity to just grab one and go. Wrong. I should have read the label before I left the bread aisle.
Normally, in the classes I have taught on nutrition, I tend to teach that you should ‘make half your grains whole’ and ‘read the label to be sure the very first thing on the ingredient list says whole ___(wheat, etc)’.

I’m gonna tell you what happened. Besides the fact that I was looking at every single package under $4.00 for a little longer than necessary and was sick of looking at them, the bread that I did choose, had a nice USDA “Make half your grains whole” logo and explanation on the back of the package. Seeing that, I honestly just assumed that it contained whole grains—WRONG (again). Tricky, tricky Mr.Bread Company….

So this is what I suggest you do next time you need to purchase bread…at least, this is what I am going to do: Read the ingredient label. You want the very first ingredient to say “Whole Wheat (or whatever Whole Grain is your grain of choice). And I mean actually read the label instead of assuming that the USDA has your back with their little marketing trickery on the back side of the package. Just because they are reminding you to make half of your grains whole, doesn’t mean that there are already 3oz out of your daily-needed 6oz in the package.

Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t know if it was the USDA (though it was their slogan and icon on the package). It very well could have been the actual bread company making a fool out of me. Whichever the case, you can rest assured that it will not happen again and that I will be writing them a nice little letter about how they tricked even I, The Untrickable.


About laurenfaye

I am a dietitian in the New Orleans area currently working at 2 clinics counseling women, infants and children. I received my Human Nutrition Bachelors Degree with a minor in Psychology from the University of Illinois at Chicago and completed my dietetic internship practice through Tulane University. I love food: the way it tastes, the way it looks, and the science behind it. I originally started this blog to give myself practice on writing about food. However, since becoming a dietitian full time I have decided to expand it a little further to cover other things I am passionate about as well. I am a retired Irish Dance Instructor since co-founding the Triallta Irish Dance Company. I am also versed in ballet, tap, belly dance, swing dance and acrobatics. I love fitness, learning and love meeting new people.
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One Response to Reading-not just looking- At Packages and Labels

  1. Don’t you hate how the industries are always being dishonest. I wish we could trust packaging and that they made reading labels easier!

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