The 8 most commonly mislabeled foods

Unfortunately, these days there are many food manufacturers with ethical boundaries far more flexible than what we'd hope for. In this article you will discover eight mislabeled foods that are really not what you think they are. 


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1. Canned pumpkin: There is a strong chance that the canned pumpkin you used to bake that delicious pumpkin pie wasn't really pumpkin. Instead, many manufacturers like to make the "puree" by blending pumpkin with a variety of winter squash, such as Hubbard, butternut and Boston Marrow. This is to improve its texture, and increase its richness in color and flavor.
2. Maple Syrup: The syrups you use on your breakfast pancake might not be maple syrup. Most of them are fake in the form of maple flavored syrup, or pancake syrup. Unless the label reads 100 percent pure maple syrup, chances are what you are having is a combination of high fructose syrup, with a myriad of artificial flavorings and coloring to get the maple syrup like consistency, taste and appearance.
3. Honey: That clear, amber colored liquid sitting on your shelf conveniently titled as honey might actually contain high fructose corn syrup along with some traces of antibiotics and toxins left behind during its processing. Also, it is worth noting that processed honey severely lacks the enzymes and other nutrients honey is known for. When it gets treated under high temperature, these enzymes get denatured, stripping it from its health benefits. While choosing honey, always stick with 100 percent pure honey or raw honey.
4. Olive Oil: The majority of the olive oil imported from Italy is not authentic. The ones commonly found on the shelves of American store are mislabeled to appear pure. The "extra virgin" olive oil is actually a low grade olive oil that is adulterated with canola oil and other low quality seed oils. Not just that, but most of the European imported olive oil is actually rancid.
5. Raw almonds: Your raw almonds might not be truly "raw". In 2007, the USDA called for the "sterilization" of all almonds. Your raw almonds, if they have been grown in United States, are actually pasteurized even if the label states otherwise. While buying almonds, purchase it directly from your local farmers before it gets treated. You can even choose to purchase imported almonds; some grocery store carry these. 

6. Cinnamon: Many people get duped into purchasing the cousin of true cinnamon that looks very similar, called Chinese cinnamon or Saigon cinnamon. True cinnamon is called "Ceylon cinnamon," and is much more expensive than its cousin and is also difficult to buy in North America. True cinnamon has a sweeter and lighter taste, which is perfect to add to deserts. Cassia, on the other hand, is good for savory dishes. But more importantly, Cassia contains a higher level of coumarin which people on blood thinners should be cautious of using.

7. Wild salmon: Even if the label reads "wild", there is a great possibility that the salmon on your dinner plate spent a portion of its life in a hatchery, where it got bombarded with toxins. Truly wild salmons are expensive and only available from November to March. Also, remember that farmed fishes are way more nutrient deficient than their wild counterparts.

8. Free-range eggs: Most commercially available eggs, even if it says free range eggs, are not truly free range. The hens might be let out for a short time every day, but they might still be fed soy, corn and synthetically made food. These are not authentically free-range. Its nutritional quality will always be poorer than the eggs laid by hens that are given space to forage. Always, try to purchase your eggs directly from local farms, or go for the box that states "pastured" on the label.


This post was originally published on September 8, 2014.

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Topics: health  healthy eating  healthy habits