Commonsense and Food Labels

In a world where the food pyramid is king and food science is how we learn what to eat, I think we seem to have forgotten to add commonsense into our diets.

Take for example 2 very different products:

Calories:                                     170                                                                                         130

Calories from fat:                       80                                                                                           50

Total Fat:                                         9 grams                                                                              5 grams

Saturated Fat:                                6 grams                                                                              2.5 grams

Trans Fat:                                         0                                                                                         0

Cholesterol:                                   35 milligrams                                                                    0

Sodium:                                         130 milligrams                                                                  90 milligrams

Total Carb:                                      13 grams                                                                            20 grams

Dietary Fiber:                                  0                                                                                            0

Sugars:                                              13 grams                                                                           10 grams

Protein:                                            13 grams                                                                           1 gram

Take a moment and decide which one you believe is the healthiest choice.

Now, why did you select that particular item? Was it based on the amount of fat? What about the cholesterol? That one to me seems like it could be a deciding factor, was it to you? Check out the sugar content, is the difference of 3 grams going to change your mind?

The fact of the matter is, based on these labels alone, food science would choose one product over the other. Demonizing one product because of the ‘bad’ ingredients in it and allowing the other even though it’s void of nourishment.

Ready to find out what they are?

Product A: Whole milk, cream on top, plain, organic yogurt from Stonyfield Farms. A serving was 1 cup.

Product B: Ginger O’s – organic creme filled ginger cookies from Newman’s Own. A serving was 2 cookies.

Now knowing the serving sizes, would it have made your choice easier? Knowing that one product was real food and the other highly processed, would you still have made the same choice?

As you can very clearly see, there is much to eating behind the basics of food labels. The yogurt will fill you up and nourish your body, giving you the right fats you need for proper development and hormone production. The sugars in it, while higher than one serving of cookies, are fromt he lactose in milk, not from added sugar.

On the other hand, had you eaten just 2 cookies, how long till you ate again? A snack like this fails to fill your stomach and not only is it void of all nourishment, it actually robs your body of nutrients due to the ‘organic’ unbleached flour and multiple ‘organic’ sugars.

We have a choice each and every time we take a bite of something to eat. Are you relying only on food science or will you step out of the box and learnt o think on your own?

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About Donielle

Donielle is an amateur herbalist and natural momma to two littles (with another babe in heaven) after dealing with being less than fertile. She has a passion for nourishing nutrition, natural living, and spreading the word on how food truly affects our health.


  1. I USED to be a voracious label reader. Now I hardly find it necessary. When you are purchasing mostly “real” food, there ARE no labels to read! Fresh spinach, salad greens, potatoes, grass fed beef, organic, free range broilers etc have no labels! And…as your poll shows, labels can be very misleading unless you know the real facts.

  2. Yes, the serving size is very important, as is the ingredient list, which can tell you a lot about the nutrients in the food.

  3. This is a great post, it is stunning that labels can be so misleading. Don’t buy much with labels but this post is just the sort of thing needed to raise awareness. You go girl. Will tweet this as it is fab!

  4. I picked product A…because I prefer more fat, less carbs and more protein. Funny! Thanks for the post.

  5. I also picked A, but not until I got to the end of the list where I saw the difference in protein because most of the other things were not that much of a difference. Really does show you how misleading labels can be. I used to read labels like that, now if I’m reading a label I am mostly focused on the ingredient list.

  6. I am preparing a post at this very moment on Real Food when my sister sent me a link to your blog! This is GREAT! I am such a believer in eating REAL FOOD! LOVE IT!

    Plus, I am a CCE and doula and I’ll be recommending your site to my students!

  7. And the sugars in the yogurt may not actually be a full 13 grams. I read someplace that the assaying process for carbohydrates is inaccurate at best–they assay everything else and the carbs are what’s left over. I don’t know how they decide how much is sugar, but clearly they had 13g left over after accounting for fat and protein and everything else, and decided it was all lactose since they knew they were assaying a dairy product. Some of it’s going to be lactic acid, though.

  8. What a great post! You are right! people never really consider serving size. I was amazed with what both items are!

  9. I picked “A” because I was looking for more fats. The sugar had me mildly concerned but the fats were so good I figured A was really better. Turns out I was right. :)

    People still think I’m sort of crazy for eating such a high-fat diet, but they can’t argue with the results (all of us happy, thin, healthy). So more and more it’s becoming a curiosity instead of outright…”you’re crazy.”

    However, now I want something sweet! Hmm…apples and whipped cream, I think I have that….

  10. What a fantastic post! I agree wholeheartedly, though I never would have thought to put together such a clever comparison.

    Like your first commenter, I also used to read labels like crazy. However, most of the food I buy now doesn’t have labels, nor do I do a lot of shopping in the grocery store, where the majority of ‘food’ being sold is no longer just food.

  11. Great post! I’m also a label reader.