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Another reason not to eat foods with labels...

Monday, January 28, 2013

Labels can be wrong!


I found these great gluten-free cookies recently -- more like biscuits, really -- and at 99 calories for two small cookies, they seemed almost like a dream! The brand is called Go Go Quinoa, and my little treat of happiness was the orange-mango variety.

Well, lo and behold, look what I found by pure accident on the company's website!

"Please note there is a printing mistake on the nutritable on the
actual boxes which has been now fixed but there are some units in
circulation that might have the uncorrected version. This is the
correct version.
We are very sorry for any inconvenience."

Actual calorie count? 170. NEARLY DOUBLE! Something tells me that just might be one small contributor to my most recent struggles.

And this, believe it or not, leads me to another likely incorrect nutrition table! This weekend I was looking for these yummy sesame seed-and-honey candy/cookie things that I find at one my local small ethnic markets that is next door to our usual Laundromat. The brand I am used to has three little Keebler-Club-cracker-sized wafers for a total of somewhere near 300 calories. So I usually eat half (one and half pieces) for a snack while we are doing laundry.

They didn't have the usual brand, but they did have something similar, so I decided to try it. This one was oversized-cookie shape and size, and the label said 150 calories total.

I have never NOT trusted a label before, but my gut told me this one had to be wrong, so I only ate half, the way I normally would. But I felt a little paranoid: "Come on, Angie, how could the label be wrong? You've never known a label to be wrong before...and aren't there strict standards for food labeling?"

And then, I just found the "corrected nutritable" for my new cookies! I AM NOT being paranoid after all! I don't know about you, but as a food lover who must work hard to keep her weight in check, I find this juuuuuust shy of terrifying!

Of course, I can't claim to be REALLY surprised. The FDA doesn't think it needs to tell us when our foods have been genetically modified or shot full of antibiotics and hormones -- why would the USDA be any more credible in its transparency and accuracy?

But since I am a copy editor by trade, it does make me want to scream at the top of my lungs to this increasingly sloppy, Internet-driven, "everything faster" world, and the government in particular, "HEY! YES, YOU -- ALL OF YOU! EVERYONE! -- YOU ACTUALLY DO NEED A FACT CHECKER AND A PROOFREADER -- I AM AN EXCELLENT COPY EDITOR, AND I HEREBY OFFER MY SERVICES FOR HIRE!"

Except, you know, outside of the blog arena when I'm going for impact, those all caps would make me insane. emoticon

I have a full-time job and a few freelance gigs at the moment. I don't necessarily need the extra work. But I'm willing to take one for the ol' team on this.

I mean, seriously -- am I the only one who's ever been fooled by a typo on a nutrition label? And possibly by TWO in one week? As a copy editor, I understand the value in credibility, and the damage it sustains by sloppy errors. It might sound crazy to some, but it really makes me wonder how many more such mistakes are out there on the food we eat every day.

I really am getting ready to go 100% "clean" and never eat anything with a label again. But honestly, the mere thought of that almost makes me want to cry. Who has time to work full time AND make their own rice milk? Argh.


As an all-around update, I am beyond frustrated with my body (for reasons that include weight and the obvious fat rolls to prove it, but also pain and increasing fatigue -- thanks, fibro!), my scale and nearly all of my clothes lately. So this was NOT a good time for this nutrition label thing!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Ahhh I know what you mean and how frustrating to find good labels lying and misrepresenting the calorie information! I love those sesame candies - at least they are not made of HFCS. I can eat a few and be pleasantly satisfied. I actually found your blog as I was looking for a recipe for sesame seed cookies my mom used to make and I thought maybe I had saved it to my SoarkRecipe (but evidently not!).

    Oh and I was curious how hard is it to get into the copy editing line of work?
    1294 days ago
    Wow, that's crappy!!! No matter what the label says (but I don't really count calories to begin with), I don't let myself eat too many cookies or goodies in general. But it would definitely be frustrating, thinking you have enough calories left for a treat, then come to find out you don't after all. I can't say I've ever questioned labels before, but makes me wonder how many of them are out there. They can get away with it, because they have the updated version out there for viewing.. so stupid.
    1932 days ago

    Comment edited on: 2/7/2013 10:29:07 AM
  • IRP1114
    Wow that is crazy. Glad to hear you are feeling good today though! Hey everything happens for a reason right? That error you found made you come up with a good explanation for the gain. Now you can get back to the good habits you've developed making your own clean whole foods :-)!
    They are much more satisfying than any of those packaged foods anyway right?
    1939 days ago
    I actually DO make most of our food! We cook nearly all of our meals. I make my own granola and my own "popsicles," which are just pureed fresh fruit poured into BPA-free plastic molds -- done! No added sugar (whyyyyy add sugar to perfectly sweetened fruit? looking back, I cannot believe my mother taught me to dip strawberries in sugar!), no added anything. For awhile I was making my own sunflower seed butter...I laughed when I started seeing packaged kale chips at Whole Foods for like $4 for a tiny bag! I cook most of our beans from dried overnight in a slow cooker (works great, btw) and when I ate bread, I sometimes used to bake it myself. And for foods that do have labels, I refuse to eat them if the ingredients list contains things I do not recognize as actual food.

    But all your awesome suggestions and comment got me thinking: I have been buying far more snacks and stuff than I used to. (Hello, weight gain. Nice of you to explain yourself!) and the reason is because I have FINALLY started to broaden my tolerated-foods list (never mind the gluten and dairy -- do you KNOW how many things have soy and eggs in them!?). Plus I have started finding all KINDS of fairly cheap allergen-conscience products, especially gluten-free, at TJ Maxx/Marshalls/Home Goods (discount department stores). So evidently I have started to go a little hog wild!!

    Ah well, time to get that nasty habit in check again. Half-price gluten-free snacks do NOT have half the calories! emoticon In cruel fact, they quite often have more.

    But yes -- it is time to get back on track, and just do the best I can. Sadly, my past few months are not the best, nutritiously speaking, that I am capable of.

    Thanks, beloved Sparkers! (Thanks also for your continued sympathy about the dumb fibro. Not so bad today, even though I was too darn tired to work out this morning.)
    1939 days ago
    Oh, so sorry you are struggling and those kinds of errors don't help, that's for sure. Did you check to see if the serving size was only .5 of the candy? I've seen that sometimes.....which is maddening! Who's going to eat 1/2 of a candy?! Hang in there, keep pedaling your bike! Don't wear your coat one hear shivering burns calories! lol
    1939 days ago
    Laura has been doing Pilates at her physical therapy sessions to help with the pain. She has also noticed that her pain is worse when she gets cross-contaminated foods that are supposed to be gluten-free. I understand the fear of being 100% clean. Just do the best you can. There is a book that rates gluten-free items for safety and cross contamination (can't remember the name) - it might help too.
    1939 days ago
    I found a couple of products like that too! a soda cracker that was suppose to be 70 calories that turned out to be 170
    1940 days ago
    I've read that when they test products and compare them to the food labels they often don't compare anyway. So I agree - foods without labels are best or the ones that say things like - Ingredients: oranges. LOL.
    1941 days ago
    I just saw a piece on the local news in the last few weeks about subway sandwich foot longs being only 10" and some fast food restaurant menus being off by as much as 30 percent. The most consistent calorie counts were at Wendy's.

    I think you have the right idea in minimizing your processed foods. 2 snacks I love are homemade chewy granola bars. I use Coach Nicole's recipe and double the batch for a 9 x 13 pan. I cut tge up and freeze them and pull them out of the freezer as I need them. I really load mine with nuts, dried fruit, peanut butter chips, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips. Even fully loaded 1 bar is about 170 calories and way better than a packaged bar. I just invested in some rice protein powder to give them a boost. My other favorite cracker snack is Mary's Gone Crackers seed crackers. 13 crackers are 139 calories with little laughing cow lite cheeses or trader joes individually packaged Brie bites.
    1941 days ago
    Geez Louise!! Those errors are not small.

    This is a really good motivator for cooking your own food including snacks...or eating fruit for a snack.

    You don't have to make your own rice milk (I certainly don't milk my own cows), but you could start slowly cutting back on the packaged stuff. Do this in baby steps, like all things Sparky!
    1941 days ago
    Sorry about the fibro. I recently purchased a NutriBullit, and I love it. I fell for the infomercial, and I am happy I did and I feel so much better!!!. I too had already begun to stop buying food that has a label. Last night I just watched the movie Hungry for Change. It was an eyeopener!!! Food companies actually put addictive substances in their foods to make us want more. I could go on and on. The movie is on Netflix. I snack of fruit n nuts n almonds etc now. Occasionally I'll have a 90% cocoa chocolate bar. Yum.
    I don't trust labels. I sure don't trust what I can't pronounce. If I google the ingredient, I am sickened.
    1941 days ago
    I have the same problem , got a bag of red lentils in the pantry and the label says only 133 calories for 100 g while ALL the other red lentils types say at least 320. and they're probably right. but at least you have calories on tons of products, most products here don't have them , so I have to avoid them or search similar things and estimate. sorry for the fibro, my legs and back are killing me too emoticon

    1942 days ago
    I work full time (40-50 hours a week) and make about 80-90% of our food from scratch. I rarely but foods in packages. well, my nuts and cheese and yogurt comes in packages... I'm not that hardcore. but for meals and snacks... It actually is easier than you think once you get a routine going. the slow cooker is an amazing help! veggies and meat in with seasonings... done and done! and in the rare occasion that I have bread, I usually make that myself too. If i'm going to indulge i want it to be amazing and fresh!

    hope you're feeling better soon!
    1942 days ago
    How crazy. Guess I should do a better job of researching my foods.

    Sorry for your luck and about the fibro!

    1942 days ago
    Wow man, that really sucks... don't get me started on the government and all that. I would go on for days haha! Hope the fibro give you a break. So sorry you have to deal with that on top of everything.
    1942 days ago
    That is just downright scary. You are so's getting harder and harder to trust any label. But...I cannot honestly see us ever going 100 % clean as you say. With busy routines...convenience often wins out around here. Sorry the fibro is flaring up~

    1942 days ago
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