“Nutrition Facts”….Not as Factual as You Might Assume

Buyer Beware :  Nutrition Facts Labeling May Not be as FACTUAL as You Would Assume.

www.Miracle-Ville.com  is the official support site for those following the Metabolism Miracle and Diabetes Miracle programs.

Miracle-Ville uncovers many food products that have questionable “Nutrition Facts” labeling.  We have seen many companies provide Nutrition Facts that are simply not supported by their ingredients.   We have also found manipulation on the labels themselves to make products appear “healthier” than they actually are.  We have even found companies that make up their own terminology like “digestible carbs”, “protected carbs,” “effective carbs” in an effort to fool you into buying their product.

Perhaps you have been wondering how this bogus labeling can take place.  Well, quite frankly, the FDA does not have the time or resources to test every single food product on the market for truth in labeling.  The major food product manufacturers are subject to more scrutiny as they are providing their wares to millions of people.  I have more faith in the label of “Pepperidge Farm” labeling than “Mom and Pop” labeling….although as you will see in the examples below, some very large companies are doing “shady math.”

One example of label deception has to do with companies fabricating their own terminology that sounds “scientific” to trick the buyer into buying the product.  Net carb grams is a real term.  “Digestible Carbs”  “Protected Carbs”  “Effective Carbs” are bogus terms that companies place on the front of their packaging to give the illusion of low carb grams when, in actuality, they are simply regular products.

Here’s an example of how companies are manipulating numbers and terminology to make their “net carb” look much lower.

FIRST:  The REAL formula for net carb grams: To determine real net carb grams,

1.  Determine the serving size of the product.  This is the amount of product the Nutrition Facts label is based on.  The bottle might contain 16 ounces, but the company might consider a serving size to be 8 ounces.  So…the Nutrition Facts numbers you see are for 1/2 the bottle.  If you drink the entire contents, you must double the amounts on the label.

2. Locate total carbohydrate grams and dietary fiber grams on the label.  In the US, dietary fiber appears right underneath total carbohydrate grams.

3. Subtract dietary fiber from the total carb grams to determine net carb grams.

Net carb grams are the grams of carbohydrate that will influence blood sugar and insulin release.  Fiber is always subtracted as it is part of the total carbohydrate number, but will literally “go in one end and come out the other” without affecting blood sugar or insulin release.

Now here’s a trick used by Atkins’ products.  Instead of labeling the true Net Carb Grams on the front of their packaging, they use “their own formula” to calculate Net Carb Grams that involves subtracting sugar alcohol along with fiber from total carbohydrate grams.

NEVER be fooled into subtracting sugar alcohol from total carb grams, like Atkins products do, because sugar alcohol grams will influence blood sugar and insulin.  Atkins products list net carb grams on the front of packaging which…according to them…is total carb – dietary fiber- sugar alchohol!  This is not the formula for net carb grams….don’t subtract sugar alcohol!

So…in the following situation….Atkins Caramel Chocolate Nut Roll Bar claims 3 grams net carb on the front of their packaging.  Here’s the actual Nutrition Facts label:

Serving size: 1 bar

Total carb grams: 20 grams

Dietary fiber grams: 8 grams

Sugar alcohol: 9 grams

The REAL net carb grams in this bar would be: 12 grams net carb.

Total carb grams (20) – Dietary fiber grams (8) = REAL Net carb grams are 12 grams/bar.

Atkins “funny” math:  Total carb grams (20) – Dietary fiber grams (8) – Sugar alcohol grams(9 ) = ATKINS net carb grams = 3 grams!!!! 

It is not correct to subtract sugar alcohol grams from total carb grams! If you believed the “funny math” on the front of the package and used this bar in Step 1 of Metabolism or Diabetes Miracle, you would set yourself back 3 days for each bar you consumed.

Trick #2  The company adds fiber to the product….but fails to add those fiber grams to the total carb grams!!!  This will cause net carb grams to appear much lower than they actually are.

Example of adding the fiber without “adding” the fiber to total carb grams.    The company added 4 grams of fiber/serving  but left everything else the same .  Look at the difference between the original label and the “funny” math.

Original bar:  Serving size 1 bar

Total carb grams: 20 grams

Dietary fiber grams: 7 grams

Sugar grams: 2 grams

Sugar alcohol: 1 gram

So….net carb grams are really:  13 grams net carb (total carb grams of 20 – dietary fiber grams of 7)

Funny Math:

Serving size: 1 bar

Total Carbohydrate grams: 20 grams

Dietary fiber grams: 11 grams

(This product initially initially contained 7 grams of fiber that were part of the total carb grams…but the company added another 4 grams fiber and left the total carb grams as they were before…still 20 even though  more fiber was added)

If you were to read this label, you’d say, wow…this bar has only 9 grams  net carb.  Total carb grams: 20 grams – Dietary fiber grams: 11 grams = 9 grams net carb.  But we know that in actuality it contains 13 grams!

What should the label look like if 4 grams of dietary fiber were added to the product?  Adding fiber would need to get added to total carbohydrate, too.

Serving size: 1 bar

Total Carbohydrate grams:  24 grams

Dietary fiber grams: 11 grams

See?  The dietary fiber grams were added, AND the company added those dietary fiber grams to the total carbohydrate, too!  This bar has the real net carb grams of 13 grams/bar.

Whenever fiber is added to a product, it must also be added to total carbohydrate grams!

 Trick #3 One more example of a large company with bogus labeling is Dreamfield’s Pasta.  Dreamfield’s has concocted two terms:  digestible carb grams and protected carb grams.

These terms are made up. Their pasta is made from durum wheat.  Nothing  magical.  But, right on the front of the packaging, highlighted,  they claim to provide 5 grams of digestible carbs/serving when in actuality, their pasta provides 36 net carb grams/serving.

Dreamfields Carb Facts:

Total Carbs:  41 grams

“Protected carb grams”: 31 grams

  Digestible Carb grams = 5 grams?????

The Truth:  Nutrition Facts:

Serving Size: 2 ounces dry

Total Carb Grams: 41 grams

Dietary fiber grams: 5 grams

Net Carb grams: 36 grams

It’s clear to see that a serving of Dreamfield’s Pasta contains 36 grams net carb. These are the Nutrition Facts.  The company can make up their own terms…but when they promote 5 grams digestible carbs on the front of the package….people believe it!

I hope you understand that many companies are looking at their bottom line (not our bottom’s measurements) or health.  They do what they can to influence you to buy their products.

So….perhaps Nutrition Facts should be relabeled:  Company’s representation of Nutrition Facts.  It’s wrong to assume that “someone” is watching out for us.  In the case of Nutrition Facts labeling, that’s simply not the case.


About Diane Kress

Author of The New York Times Bestseller; The Metabolism Miracle, The Metabolism Miracle Cookbook, and The Diabetes Miracle. and The Metabolism Miracle, Revised Edition. Owner, developer, and administrator of The Metabolism Miracle's support site: www.Miracle-Ville.com. Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator, www.themetabolismmiracle.com www.thediabetesmiracle.com www.miracle-ville.com Email: dietquestions@ymail.com
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4 Responses to “Nutrition Facts”….Not as Factual as You Might Assume

  1. Verline Cafarella says:

    Dietary fibers helps a lot in preventing colon cancer since they really clean the lining of the intestines. The formation of polyps and tumors are reduced if the intestinal linings are clean. *:”:

    Warmest wishes http://foodsupplementdigest.com/omega-3-benefits/

    • Diane Kress says:

      I recommend a dietary intake high in fresh vegetables, nuts, olives with a controlled amount of whole grains, fruit. Recommend grain products like whole grain or multi grain breads, crackers, cereals contain 2 grams or more of fiber/serving. Plenty of water, green tea, omega 3 fatty acids, too.

  2. Lady Galaxy says:

    When I come across questionable nutrition labels, I contact the company for clarification. Though I usually get an initial, “We’re looking into this and will get back to you,” response, I have never gotten an, “Oh my gosh, you’re right, we’ll fix it right away.” Right now I’m trying to convince a large grocery chain that their brand of “zero calorie” baking sweetener cannot be calorie free because their one teaspoon serving size contains 1.5 carbs which means it would have at least 6 calories. And since it’s designed to be used in baking, listing a 1 teaspoon serving size is totally unrealistic because I can’t think of many baking recipes where the sugar equivalent is one teaspoon. I’m assuming they chose such a small size because they can get away with saying “no calories” when the actual calories are close to 5.

    • Diane Kress says:

      Hi Lady…if the sweetener you are referring to contains erythritol, that would account for carb grams. But, erythritol is one sugar alcohol that does not really get processed in the body as carb…most of it leaves the body intact in the urine. So…in essence, there are carbs in there that don’t equate to calories? Does the product contain erythritol?

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