Why Food Buzzwords Are Misleading


Organic, gluten free and whole wheat are words that are found on almost every package these days. The other day I bought a bag of popcorn that had "gluten free" stamped across it. I'm not sure I need the label to tell me that my corn product did not contain wheat. Obviously, this is a marketing ploy: We completely buy into the idea that these buzzwords make our food healthy. Whole wheat Kraft macaroni and cheese? Long-lasting energy! Gluten free gummy bears? Clean eating! Organic potato chips? Less chemicals for me!

In a recent study, 318 undergraduate students were asked to look at the labels of various food products and rate how healthful they were. Packages with buzzwords like those described above were rated significantly higher than those without. In fact, because of its packaging, 33 percent of the students rated Spam as healthier than salmon. (Now that's truly terrifying.) 

Which apple sauce would you choose?

Obviously, you know that carrot sticks are better for you than potato chips. But this study is a cautionary tale: When we grocery shop, we can go on auto pilot and become a victim of smart marketing ploys. If you're going to grab that soda with antioxidants because you were going to drink one anyways, then go for it. But if you're letting yourself be fooled, remember: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.


Latest Posts

Left to right: Dance Theatre of Harlem's Daphne Lee, Amanda Smith, Lindsey Donnell and Alexandra Hutchinson in a scene from Dancing Through Harlem. Derek Brockington, Courtesy Dance Theatre of Harlem

Dancers Share Their Key Takeaways After a Year of Dancing on Film

Creating dances specifically for film has become one of the most effective ways that ballet companies have connected with audiences and kept dancers employed during the pandemic. Around the world, dance organizations are finding opportunities through digital seasons, whether conceiving cinematic, site-specific pieces or filming works within a traditional theater. And while there is a consistent sentiment that nothing will ever substitute the thrill of a live show, dancers are embracing this new way of performing.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Alexandra McMaster

Start Your Dance Day With This Delicious Berry Breakfast Crisp Recipe

When it comes to breakfast, I want it to be easy and convenient but still taste delicious. My Berry Breakfast Crisp is just that. You can bake the crisp on the weekend as meal prep, then enjoy it throughout the week cold or warmed in the microwave. It freezes well, too!

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Liam Scarlett with Marianela Nuñez and Ryoichi Hirano during a rehearsal of his Swan Lake at The Royal Ballet. Andrej Uspenski, Courtesy ROH

Choreographer Liam Scarlett Has Died

Over the weekend, news broke that 35-year-old choreographer Liam Scarlett, a former artist in residence at The Royal Ballet, died suddenly at his home in England. "It is with great sadness that we announce the tragic, untimely death of our beloved Liam," Scarlett's family said in a brief statement. "At this difficult time for all of our family, we would ask that you respect our privacy to enable us to grieve our loss."

The cause of death was not disclosed.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks