5 Misleading Nutrition Marketing Words!

Misleading-food-labelsMarketers are clever – especially when it comes to the packaging on the foods we eat. Some of the terms are especially misleading, and so I’ve put together a list of the top 5 nutrition-related marketing words to ignore. Despite their sexiness, these words don’t necessarily imply a nutritional benefit.

  1. Fat-free, low fat or reduced fat. First things first, the low fat craze of the 80s and 90s made Americans even fatter than ever. Though it seems counter-intuitive, fat doesn’t make you fat. Consuming more calories than you burn results in body fat. Moreover, our bodies need the healthy, essential fats to function properly (think avocados, nuts and olive oil). If a food is fat-free or low fat, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s healthy. For example, Skittles are low fat – but they’re definitely not healthy and extremely calorie dense. Moreover, many manufacturers reduce that fat content in their low fat foods by adding sugar or salt. That’s not a good thing.
  2. Gluten-free. Unless you have celiac disease or are sensitive to gluten (which, it turns out, is a very small percentage of the population), there’s no need to cut gluten from your diet. Though marketers have managed to link the term gluten-free to implied nutritional benefits, there’s actually no correlation between the two. And nutritionists warn that following a gluten-free diet can increase the risk for nutritional deficiencies for vitamins and minerals found in foods that contain gluten.
  3. Detox. Foods (think juices and so-called cleanses) don’t detoxify your body. That’s a job performed by the liver and kidneys. If you’re looking to reduce toxins in your body, don’t put them there in the first place. Eliminate smoking, alcohol or foods laden with pesticides – like the dirty dozen.
  4. Low carb. Much like the essential fats, our bodies need carbohydrates to function properly. Not to mention, carbohydrates are our bodies’ main energy source. If you eliminate or overly reduce carbohydrates, you’ll feel sluggish and your performance (including at the gym) will suffer. Instead of eliminating carbohydrates, focus on eating complex carbohydrates from whole wheat foods, brown rice, beans and so on. Reduce simple carbohydrates like those found in candy, sugary drinks and pastries.
  5. Natural. Though many foods claim to be natural, the FDA has declined to define the term. In other words, marketers can really use the term to mean whatever they want. By the FDA’s non-definition, even high fructose corn syrup can be considered natural. After all, isn’t it derived from corn? Just because a product is labeled as natural, it doesn’t mean that it’s organic and it definitely doesn’t imply a nutritional benefit.

To really cut through the hype, it’s important to look past the pretty packaging and actually read the nutrition label and list of ingredients on any product you consume. This will give you a much better idea of how the product measures up.

About Davey Wavey

Davey Wavey is a certified personal trainer and YouTube sensation with more than 250 million video views. For Davey's fitness tips and secrets, sign up for his free monthly newsletter - or download any of his affordable and effective workout programs.


  1. LOL GMO is misleading, just because its a GMO dues not mean its bad for you, every thing is technically a GMO in some way. Grass that uses less water is not a bad thing, corn that grows faster is not a bad thing, glow in the dark trees to replace street lights are not a bad thing….just saying.

    Thanks for the article Davey

    • blueboyblonde says:

      Global is scientifically proven to cause animals to starve themselves if the food is not diluted with non gom product. Further it is shown to cause humans all manner of illness. People just don’t get a disease one day for the hell of it. There is a cause and effect to it.

      • Please read up on GMO befor commenting. People get sick because of what they genetically modified the plant to do, plants resist bugs by making poison, so people get sick from some GMO corn cus it was modified to make poison

  2. justin southworth says:

    I have to say this posting must be a joke. For one its all written for the food industry that wants additives in our food and by someone with no actual health and healing experience.

  3. The key to the post is the sentence “it’s important to look past the pretty packaging and actually read the nutrition label and list of ingredients on any product you consume.” In other words, educate yourself and don’t just accept what you are told [about anything]!

  4. ok Davey. all the research i have looked at from around the world when me and over half my blood realities that i know got diagnosed as wheat sensitive or cealiac… actually states that there is a huge huge undiagnosed population of people who gluten sensitive…. and secondly the wheat sold in the US is not the same plant that used to be sold pre 60s… studies have found that this forced cross of a plant is actually addictive and raises blood sugar more than pure sugar. there is countries that the people are healthy and do not eat wheat at all… but yes because it says gluten free don’t mean its healthy… in fact processed breads in stores probably should be avoided all together but yeah… and those who are on a gluten free diet learn to read every ingredient on the labels… and sense i have gone gluten free i have lost 50 pounds gained muscle and have gone from barely able to walk with a cane to running again… and the GLUTEN FREE.. label is what us with my condition have to look for… the stuff is more expensive but they will not kill us…

  5. ‘Natural Food’, now with less ‘natural’

    Take a walk down to your local supermarket and prepare to be bombarded with feel-god buzzwords. I am particularly guarded against the use of the word “natural” on food these days. Even the latest sugary, dyed and corn-syrup infused powerade proudly proclaims its “all natural” ingredients. I almost feel I could find more “natural” ingredients in the shoes, fruit-of-the-loom underwear, or neck pillows in the aisle over, but I digress.

    – Be sure to always check the ingredients of the food you eat. “Natural flavors”, “Fructose corn syrup” and “carboxylated formaldehyde” are good indicators of unnatural foods.

    – Excessive colors and dyes are potentially unhealthy

    – If all else fails, simple fruit and vegetables are great choices.

  6. Hey, The best success that I have ever had was with Red hot slim (just google it) Without a doubt the most helpful diet that I have ever tried.


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  3. […] organic and gluten free all seem to convey a nutritional benefit. Unfortunately, they don’t. These are misleading buzz words; instead, determine whether or not a food is healthy by reading the nutrition label and […]