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In food labelling, ‘no added’ doesn’t mean none at all

How reassured are you to see the phrase ‘no added sugar’ or ‘no added artificial colours’ on the packaging of a food item in your supermarket? Have you every bought a ‘no added’ product thinking that item was a healthy alternative? At some time, we have all fallen victim to this sneaky advertising ploy.

‘No added sugar’ doesn’t mean that a product is sugar-free or healthier than an alternative, it simply means that there is no added sugar in addition to the regularly occurring or usual sugars like fructose and sucrose. ‘No added sugar’ may mean that an artificial sweetener (like aspartame) has been used instead and so if you want to avoid chemicals this would not be a product to choose.

‘No artificial colours’ is also a misleading statement on some products, especially if the item you are buying is brightly coloured. If natural colours have been used instead, then it is worth checking which ones. Many natural colours are just as problematic as artificial ones for those with asthma or food allergies. Testing for food intolerances or allergies may start with the removal of coloured products from the diet so some careful label reading will be needed.

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Lindy Schneider is a writer and researcher with a keen interest in health, wellbeing and natural childcare. She is an advocator of a chemical-free lifestyle in the best interests of her family, the community and a sustainable world. She lives in the Yarra Valley with her partner and two young children.

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