You thought that you were doing a great thing for your physical health by buying foods labeled “light”. After all, light refers to reduced calories and fat, right? Wrong! In fact “light” can refer to many things besides calories including the food’s color or texture.

What about “reduced” say reduced sugar, salt or fat? That surely should be a great product to consider. Wrong again! It simply means than the product would have to contain at least 25% less of say sugar than the original recipe. Well, that’s good, except if in the case of say a six pack of Hostess donuts the sugar dose goes from 200% to 150% of the sugar you should be consuming.

If you want to stick with better terms try “low fat” and “low calorie”. “Low fat” of course doesn’t refer to you, who odds are (as 70% of Americans are either overweight or obese) are at least a bit pudgy, but rather to those modified Oreo cookies you want. “low fat” by law means no more than 3 grams of fat per serving. “Low calorie” similarly must contain no more than 40 calories per serving.

The problem is what a “serving” is considered. If a “serving” means for example a single Oreo cookie,which for most of us is just the first bite, than your “low calorie” or “low fat” campaign just went out the window.

“Low sodium” is another phrase which by law refers to a product than contains no more than 140 mg of salt per 100 grams of fat. Most of us consume way too much salt and this in turn leads to high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes, so less is more.

“No added sugar” means just that. You could have quite a bit of natural sugar say in the form of fructose and just no add any more (as for example in fruit juice).

The best solution of course would be to avoided processed foods altogether and stick with  fruits, vegetables and grains. Yet, most of us like those chips and cookies. So when you go through the processed food aisles, be careful!