Don't believe what you read (on food labels)

Your health's worst enemies: Cute packaging and craftily worded labels on food packaging. They are enough to make our guts go soft with more belly fat - after they've caused a spike in our blood glucose levels, that is.

Food marketing consultant at foodmarketingnetwork.com, Rob Ward, shows you how to read between the lines.

The Claim: "Made With Whole Grains"
The Truth: The stuff could still be refined and darkened with caramel colouring. Go for '100 per cent Wholegrain'.

The Claim: "Sugar-free!"
The Truth: It may contain sugar alcohols (e.g. xylitol or sorbitol) which can cause diarrhoea.

The Claim: "Made with real fruit"
The Truth: Check the quantity of actual fruit used as a percentage: It's often too little to matter.

The Claim: "Low cholesterol"
The Truth: To be of any benefit, the stuff must be 'high HDL' (a good cholesterol), 'low LDL' (a bad cholesterol) and 'low triglyceride' (a type of fat in your blood).

The Claim: "No added sugar"
The Truth: "No added sugar" just means no sucrose. As with dried fruit, it could still be very sweet.

The Claim: "Light!"
The Truth: 'Light' may mean 30 per cent less fat/sugar. But it still doesn't make the stuff healthy.

The Claim: "Fortified with omega-3"
The Truth: ALA, the least beneficial and cheapest of the three types of fatty acid, is often the only kind used for food manufacturers.

The Claim: "Fat-free!"
The Truth: This is the code for 'high sugar' and 'addictive-laced'. Besides, not all fats are bad.

The Claim: "No trans fats!"
The Truth: Even with this claim, it may still contain 0.1g of artery-clogging trans fat per 100g. Avoid anything labelled "hydrogenated".

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