Don't be fooled by labels on 'healthy' snacks


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Did you switch to diet soda to knock out those pesky liquid calories? Do you sleep better at night knowing that the bag of potato chips you ate an hour ago were organic?

Words such as “organic,” “fat-free” and “no additives” are just several ways that processed food companies package snacks to make them more enticing in our increasingly health-conscious world. And guess what? It fools a lot of people.

Watch out because those buzzwords don't always reflect the nutritional facts on the back of a package. Likewise, some people assume that a product is better if it’s sold in a health store or aisle of the grocery store. This is called a “food halo,” which gives a product undeserved credit for being a healthy alternative snack.

We’re big advocates for eating what you want — in moderation and in a smart way. A large part of that is being a savvy consumer by reading nutritional content, understanding what buzzwords really mean, understanding how commercials entice us into consuming a product, choosing less processed and more natural foods, and knowing when and how to limit our intake of those not-so-great snacks.

Processed foods have a figurative scale that needs to stay balanced. Factors in balancing a product are taste, nutritional content, looks and how the item comes together. When fat is reduced, you can bet that salt, sugar and other additives will replace it. So while those calories might be reduced, the sodium could be through the roof.