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11 Food Tricks You Need To Be Aware Of

When you pick an item off the shelf at the grocery store, you probably automatically assume it is what it says on the label, without unnecessary additives. Unfortunately though, that’s often not the case. If you look more closely at the ingredient label, you will likely find some surprising extras, and many may not even be listed there.

Keep reading to learn some of the common food tricks manufacturers use, so you can be a smarter shopper and protect yourself from things you would rather not eat.

The White Tuna In Your Sushi Roll Probably Isn’t Tuna

Researchers took samples from New York sushi restaurants and found that when customers ordered white tuna rolls, there was actually a different kind of fish in them. Even more disturbingly, that wasn’t something that happened just a few times, but was the case in all of the samples taken.

Most commonly, the fish that was swapped out and advertised as white tuna was actually a fish called escobar, which interestingly is nicknamed “Ex-Lax Fish” because it is known to give people prolonged diarrhea.

Ground Coffee Sometimes Contains Twigs

If you’re an at-home coffee drinker, make sure to buy the whole bean variety rather than the ground kind. Ground coffee often contains additives, including twigs, because it’s cheaper to produce coffee with those extras in it, and when you’re looking at the contents in the bag, you probably won’t be able to tell the difference.

It may not be surprising, then, to learn that there are other unwanted ingredients in many types of ground coffee, like barley and wheat. If it’s not feasible to buy whole bean coffee because you don’t have a grinder and would rather not buy one, do the next best thing and buy your coffee from retailers that grind the coffee for you in the store.

There Might Be Wood Pulp In Your Parmesan Cheese

Parmesan cheese is a popular spaghetti accompaniment, and it’s been discovered that some manufacturers put wood pulp into the containers too. That’s the worst case scenario, anyway. In other cases, they just put other types of cheeses in with the Parmesan, so you’re getting more of a mixture than the pure stuff.

You’re Probably Not Chowing Down On Grouper Fish

Similarly to the research found on white tuna fish, tests were done that discovered when people thought they were eating grouper, it was also another kind of fish. Even worse, there were instances where scientists weren’t able to identify the type of fish that was masquerading as the grouper.

Your Honey May Have Added Sweeteners

If anyone asked you, you’d probably say honey is sweet enough on its own without anything extra to make it sweeter. However, some food manufacturers wouldn’t agree with that assessment.

There aren’t regulations on which products can be called honey, so many manufacturers take advantage of the ambiguity and add ingredients to the honey to make it sweeter. The most common additive is high-fructose corn syrup, which you may recognize as a common replacement for sugar in carbonated sodas.

Juice That Seems To Be From a Single Fruit May Be From Several

If you buy a juice that seems to be from just one kind of fruit, make sure to read the label first and verify percentages. Many juice makers add several types of fruit juice into a blend to create one kind.

Apple juice is often used that way because it’s relatively cheap. Fortunately, it’s very easy to tell if you’re being fooled or not in this case, because most juice labels list percentages of each juice ingredient.

If yours doesn’t, look for another kind of juice. Furthermore, most of the apple juice sold in the United States is from concentrates originating from China. They’ve been known to contain pesticides and substances that are banned in the U.S.

Your Champagne May Not Really Be From France

To be referred to authentically, sparkling wine can’t really be considered champagne unless it comes from the Champagne region of France. Even so, many manufacturers choose to be deceptive. When looking more closely at the label, you may find that not only is your champagne not from France, but it’s from a different country entirely, such as the United States.

If you’re not a purist and you truly love the taste of what you’re drinking, that may not be such a big deal, but if location is a big factor for you, make sure to read the label carefully before putting a certain bottle into your shopping cart.

Foods Labeled As “All Natural” May Not Be Totally Healthy

People often see the “all natural” phrase on a food label and assume that whatever it refers to is definitely healthier than something that’s not being marketed as having all natural ingredients. However, that’s often not the case.

The regulations for all natural foods just say they can’t contain artificial flavors, additional colors or synthetic substances. So, that leaves a lot of room for interpretation. For example, high-fructose corn syrup is made from corn, so it could be argued as being healthy, but there are many nutritionists who would argue that belief.

You May Be Eating Fewer Grains Than You Think

In an effort to get people to think they’re buying healthier breads and crackers, food manufacturers often advertise that something is “made with whole-grain.” However, if you actually look at the label to see the ingredient breakdown, you might notice that the whole-grain content is a lot less than you ever expected.

Look for indicators such as “100 percent whole-grain” or “100 percent whole-wheat” to choose items with more grains. The “multi-grain” label is often used to indicate health too, but like the “made with whole-grain” phrase, it’s one that’s made to attract attention, but may be associated with food that’s less nutritious than expected.

Your Spice Rack Isn’t Immune To Additives

Scientists ran tests and found that oregano had weeds mixed in with it, and turmeric contained corn. These are just two examples of why you can’t always assume your spices are purPin Ite.

Sugar-Free Foods May Have More Calories

Perhaps you’ve been reaching for sugar-free options because you’re under the impression they’re lower in calories than the standard versions of the foods you love. In some cases though, these choices might have more calories than their counterparts that have sugar.

Read the nutrition facts if you’re concerned about cutting back on certain things. Then choose items that have less of whatever you’re trying to avoid most, whether that’s sugar or calories.

As you can see, there are many foods that aren’t quite what they seem. Although it is sometimes not possible to avoid such consumables, you’re at least more educated about the common culprits.

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Katherine Hurst
By Dr. Michael Richardson
Passionate about sharing the latest scientifically sound health, fitness and nutrition advice and information, Dr Richardson received his Master of Science in Nutrition from New York University, and a Bachelor Degree from New Jersey University. He has since gone on to specialize in sports nutrition, weight management and helping his patients to heal physical ailments by making changes to their eating habits and lifestyles.

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