You don’t have to be a savvy shopper to notice the simple workaround that the food industry uses to make all foods seem nutritious: Determine how much of your product adds up to about 140 calories, and declare that as your serving size.
As this blog post from AlterNet, “Nutrition Labels Aimed to Dupe Consumers—And How to Tell What You're Really Eating,” points out, “When a sugary cereal like Count Chocula appears to be a healthy choice, you know something has gone terribly wrong with nutrition labels.”
The long AlterNet article by Jill Richardson, who blogs at La Vida Locavore and is a member of the Organic Consumers Association policy advisory board, is well worth the time spent to click and read. If you’d rather cut to the chase, though, here’s how Richardson wraps it up:
The common theme here is that nutrition labels do not tell the full story about a food’s nutrition. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. A low-calorie chocolate bar is not the answer to all of your fiber needs, and a fortified cereal is not an excuse for skipping out on fruits and vegetables.
When it comes down to it, the bottom line is the same as ever: opt for a wide variety of whole foods when possible. While it might be fun to eat some junk now and again, don’t fool yourself into thinking it’s a health food—even if the label claims it is.