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What Modified or Value Added Food Labels Do you Avoid?

Since I got educated a bit, I avoid "FAT FREE" labeled yogurt.

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  1. fat free anything.

    I'm not fond of "nutriceuticals"--sticking alleged nutrients where they don't belong. I dislike OJ with calcium added, for example. Reductionism doesn't work in nutrition.

    "Natural" in and of itself is a red flag. I always look very closely at anything that has that claim on it, like 7-up :)

    2 Replies
    1. re: coney with everything

      I personally gravitate towards anything that's labelled, "Unnatural." Extra points if it's bathed in an eerie green glow and surrounded by fog.

      I've been trying to avoid anything with high fructose corn syrup, and it ain't easy. I expect to read labels on packages of underwear and see it included there.

      1. re: monkeyrotica

        "I've been trying to avoid anything with high fructose corn syrup, and it ain't easy. I expect to read labels on packages of underwear and see it included there."

        I haven't bought any recently, but one should probably read the label carefully when buying edible underwear. I somehow think that nutritional value is the last thing on the manufacturers' minds.

    2. the only labels i pay any attention to are the ingredients & sourcing info. i buy products that are as unadulterated, anti-corporate and american-made as possible (the latter being the most flexible as i'm all for artisanal products from anywhere). all other info on the label is virtually meaningless/advertising; there are either no controlling bodies to verify the claims, or the controlling bodies are corrupt, and the claims are not to be believed.

      7 Replies
      1. re: mark

        I avoid water that has anything added to it, flavors, vitamins whatever..plain water is fine by me!

        1. re: bubbles4me

          reminds me of the new propel water ad i saw on TV. they compare it to vitamin water which contains 120 calories per bottle, making it appear as though propel's 25 calories are a bargain.

          thanks, but i'll continue to take my water calorie-free.

          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            I saw that- one of the most bizarre reasons to buy a product. If you really want a flavor/quick burst, just add a shot or so of decent real fruit juice and some salt and presto, it's an energy drink.

            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              Pretty soon they'll be selling dried aqua crystals
              ...Just add water

              1. re: fruglescot

                Well, Vitamin O is pretty close, and has been around for almost 10 years now.

                "Studies run on vitamin O showed it to be composed largely of salt water as well as a small quantity of germanium, which would provide no benefits not attributable to the placebo effect."


                1. re: RicRios

                  When I'm training hard for a race I tend to have some Propel on my bike, or in my hand. It's a nice change from water. I do it cause I like the Black Cherry, but not because of any added vitamins.

                  1. re: nliedel

                    Oh, I'm not against having it on hand in an emergency/serious training- and I can't imagine my brother, who downs gatorade by the gallon during race season, having fresh fruit juice on hand or caring, haha. (Personally, I go for a red eye before and cafe au lait after races and long runs, myself!) But I just saw Vitamin Water and Propel (and some store knock off brand) on sale for 10 for 10 dollars at the local store- maybe it's just because I'm a cheap college student, but why would most people stock up on it?

        2. I try to get as many whole foods as possible. I don't always succeed, but everyone needs a goal.

          1. I avoid any food product, or beverage labeled:

            Fat Free, Low Fat, Diet, Lite, Light, Sugar Free, vegan, vegetarian, or Skim

            3 Replies
            1. re: swsidejim

              I hate any fat-free or lite dressings, mayo, sour cream, yogurt, cheese. I despise any margarines, only use real butter. Despise artificial sweeteneers.

              1. re: Sean

                I am in 100% agreeement. I also love butter as well.

              2. re: swsidejim

                Good, except that some perfectly good products that are naturally low fat or fat-free put that on the label to capitalize on the marketing.

              3. Any flavored potato chip or nacho. Never had one I thought was even OK.

                Plain chips are wickedly delicious. I don't understand messing with perfection.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Angela Roberta

                  Some flavored chips work for me. Those "crab chips" seasoned with Old Bay for instance. Or a good salt and vinegar chip.

                  But plain old Grandma Utz Kettle chips (cooked in pure lard) are the chip for me.

                2. I try to avoid processed foods, but admit to using a few for convenience. If I have to buy premade I try to avoid excess sodium. Reading Chowhounds postings has encouraged me to begin making my own stocks to better control for sodium.

                  I also look for whole grains on every sort of grain product. And I avoid HFCS. I also don't see the need for such products as calcium fortified orange juice. Why not just drink milk or eat other dairy? I also avoid most products likely to have trans-fats in them.

                  I do not avoid no-fat or reduced fat products. I do think that for those of us with health considerations, certain modified products work. I do realize that many Chowhounds do not feel that way.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: sueatmo


                    some of us may choose not to consume dairy, and some of us have bodies that made that choice for us. green leafy veggies and other sources of calcium are hard to eat enough of EVERY DAY to get ones total DV. hence, calcium fortified OJ, etc.
                    all that aside, I find myself avoiding any products with "hidden" weird ingredients ("natural flavors" "spices") or. pretty much anything that I don't recognize as food. Fat free in most cases, bleached white flour, HFCS, and and any animal additives from animals I don't eat. I only eat fishes, so no beef flavor, chicken fat etc. The exception...cheese. You just can't eat some of the world's best cheeses w/out the rennet:)

                    1. re: sueatmo

                      Women "of a certain age" who are on the verge of osteoporosis can get some good value out of OJ that is fortified with calcium, and why not--it is the same price as any other oj and the calcium generally does no harm. Of course it can't do the job alone, but it's one more helper.

                      Speaking of OJ and other juices, I try avoid those from concentrate.

                      1. re: johnb

                        As far as I can tell, there is no evidence that foods artificially enhanced with calcium do any good whatsoever. This is just another attempt by the frankenfood conglomerates to make consumers believe that crappy fake food is good for them. Drink milk. Eat yogurt and cheese. oranges do not contain calcium -- stay away from this strange stuff!

                        1. re: pikawicca

                          What evidence have you reviewed that shows that calcium from OJ does not do any good?

                          You say drink more milk. Fine, but should one look for milk that is not fortified with Vitamin D? Should one eat corn products that have not been processed with lye? Should I now stop buying iodinized salt? All of these additions were developed years, even centuries ago, to prevent serious diseases. I fail to see what the big deal problem is with calcium in OJ. Why is that worse than popping a calcium pill? And anyway, does it do any harm? What about people who can't consume dairy for other reasons? If I buy Tropicana plain OJ instead of Tropicana calcium-fortified OJ does that make Tropicana a less evil conglomerate?

                          I hardly think fortified food products rise to the level of "frankenfood," a term that has been coined to discuss GMO's. But that's another topic.

                          1. re: johnb

                            There have been recent studies that indicate no value from calcium in pill form, either. The whole business of taking a nutrient out of its natural food context and putting it into something else is coming under intense scrutiny: Seems it works in some instances, but not in many others.

                      1. re: RicRios

                        "PERKING" MY ATTENTION
                        Yes! Interesting point, Ric Rios. It was actually suggested to me by a health professional to switch to a decafinated coffee

                        1. re: fruglescot

                          Tons of studies against decaf. This one is just an example:

                          1. re: RicRios

                            "However, numerous scientific studies have clearly demonstrated there is no health risk associated with drinking moderate amounts of either caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee, and you can continue to enjoy your favourite beverage with or without its stimulating properties."

                            Thanks for the interesting link RicRios! This is a quote from the bottom of the article. Again, we hear the validation of the concept of moderation. I am glad to hear this, as I am a moderate coffee consumer, limiting myself to 1-2 cups a day at most, and often abstaining. I am counting on moderation to save my "diet". I just love too many types of foods to say "no" to an entire group of foods. My only complete "No" is reserved for bad tasting food.

                            I prefer regular expresso, but there are many places in our city to get very acceptable decaf. It isn't as good, but it is definitely better than the caffeinated garbage one can get from a well-known donut chain that is slowly infecting our city (still at a slower rate than the rest of Canada, mercifully). "No" to bad coffee!

                            1. re: moh

                              My brand of choice at the moment is a brand you might sanction, Moh.......Van Hautte

                              1. re: fruglescot

                                I like A.L. Van Houtte coffee, it's pretty good! I would willingly drink their coffee. And their beans are pretty good for a reasonable price. But I must admit, we are dreadfully spoiled in our neighbourhood in Montreal. There are a ton of really great coffee shops within a 5 block radius, of all different persuasions. It makes it easy for me to stick to my dictum "life is too short to drink bad coffee" (can substitute "bad wine" "bad food" etc.)

                                1. re: moh

                                  Yes Moh! I concur "Life is (much) to short" especially when you consider all the good things to eat/drink out there. I tried my first half Tetley tea and cocao drink yesterday. excellent blend.

                                  1. re: fruglescot

                                    "I tried my first half Tetley tea and cocao drink yesterday."

                                    Please elaborate! Tea and cocoa? You make it yourself? You buy it? what an interesting concept! But I am sure it is good, having performed a Tim Tam Slam with tea many a time.

                                    1. re: moh

                                      I have only had the man at the espresso shop concoct it for me so far. He has the equipment for a nice steamed milk cocao to add to the Tetley Tea (his choice) I will be experimenting at home.
                                      Send me the info for the 'Tim Tam Slam' by email (On my profile) and avoid a possible deletion because we're heading off topic Ok?

                                      1. re: fruglescot

                                        Will actually start a new thread! Many concepts to discuss.

                            2. re: RicRios

                              i adore coffee, but i can't have the caffeine later in the day. it makes me way too jumpy & i'm prone to insomnia. but life most certainly is too short to drink bad coffee, so if i really want it later in the day i head to peet's for an americano made with major dickason's blend.

                              the most offensive decaf is always that insipid, colored water they try to pass off at restaurants. it's a waste of stomach space.

                          2. re: RicRios

                            No decaf coffee here. Ugh, shiver. Nasty. I was at a funeral and they were pouring coffee. I asked for regular, but they ran out, making an abysmal mix of half regular and half decaf. I asked her to just give me the half cup of regular. I was very polite, but she gave me a dirty look. Someone else wanted the mixed coffee behind me, so I gave it to him and waited for the next batch. I just hate the taste and no, it is not the same.