Today Walmart announced a five year initiative to make thousands of its packaged foods lower in unhealthy salts, fats, sugars, and to drop prices on their fruits and vegetables. This is a great shift for the largest retailer in the United States. This is a theme that is becoming very regular across the country in large and small food retailers. They are doing their best to offer the healthiest products possible to their clients. There is also great willingness from food producers to do the same, at least on the surface it seems that way.
You probably remember the big to do about High Fructose Corn Syrup in the media lately. The commercials that state that "it has just as many calories as sugar and is fine in moderation." Are you aware that those commercials were paid for by the Corn Refiners Associations, a lobbyist group designed solely to protect the profitability of the corn industry? This same group is leading a charge in Washington to change the labeling of High Fructose Corn Syrup to simple unassuming Corn Sugar. Corn Sugar sounds so much nicer and just rolls of the tongue, it sounds as the sugar was simply squeezed out of the corn kernel into your food, WRONG. It is the same highly processed, easily converted to fat, artery clogger we all know and many of us have grown to almost need on a daily basis. Did you know that the majority of calories consumed in the U.S. come from sodas in the form of High Fructose Corn Syrup.
This is not the only place food companies are trying to disguise what is in their packaged food items. We have heard many times that we should avoid MSG because it is bad for us. Do you know how to find it on a label? If you think it is merely simple as looking for MSG you have got another thing coming. The following list are alternative, legal names for MSG on food labels:
Monosodium glutamate, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (H V P), Textured Protein, Monopotassium glutamate, Hydrolyzed Plant Protein (HPP), Yeast Extract, Glutamate, Autolyzed Plant Protein, Yeast food or nutrient, Glutamic Acid, Sodium Caseinate, Autolyzed Yeast, Vegetable Protein Extract, and Senomyx.
You also can find this product in the following items as well: Malted Barley (flavor)Natural Flavors, Flavors, Flavoring Modified food starch, Barley malt, Reaction Flavors, Rice syrup or brown rice syrup, Malt Extract or Flavoring, Natural Chicken, Beef, or Pork, Flavoring "Seasonings" (Most assume this means salt, pepper, or spices and herbs, which sometimes it is.) Lipolyzed butter fat, Maltodextrin, dextrose, dextrates, Soy Sauce or Extract, "Low" or "No Fat" items, Caramel Flavoring (coloring), Soy Protein, Corn syrup and corn syrup solids high fructose corn syrup, Stock, Soy Protein Isolate or Concentrate, Citric Acid (when processed from corn), Broth, Cornstarch, fructose (made from corn), Milk Powder, Bouillon, Flowing Agents, Dry Milk Solids Carrageenan, Wheat, rice, corn, or oat protein, Protein Fortified Milk, Whey Protein or Whey, Anything enriched or vitamin enriched, Annatto, Whey Protein Isolate or Concentrate Protein fortified, "anything" Spice, Pectin, Enzyme modified proteins, Gums (guar and vegetable), Protease, Ultra-pasteurized dairy products, Dough Conditioners, Protease enzymes, Fermented proteins, Yeast Nutrients, Lecithin, Gluten and gluten flour Protein powders: whey, soy, oat, rice (as in protein bars, shakes, etc).
That is a crazy list, you could look through your cupboard and be very surprised how much MSG you could be consuming with really have no knowledge that you are doing so. The last example is "natural flavors.” Natural flavors is defined as: "The term natural flavor or natural flavoring means the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional.
What this boils down to is anything, this means they can put almost anything in under the guise of natural flavors or flavoring. This is an item you should stay away from at all costs because you have no idea what it is.
How does all this relate to Walmart shifting its products it will carry?
The food industry will find new ways to label items to comply with the demands of the companies but what they really will be doing is finding ways to keep their items as addictive and just hide what they are putting in by calling it something else of changing the configuration slightly.
This is happening today in many of the foods that are labeled trans fat free. What happens to the food is that the fats and ingredients that are in the pre packaged products become trans fats once they are heated. The companies know this but they do not have to disclose this information. This will continue to happen for the rest of time. Just when you think you know what you are eating, a little truth is leaked out and we find out that what we thought we were eating was simply just not the case. This is why just like anything else in life you have to continue to grow and evolve. You do not have the luxury of being stagnant. Stick to whole, real, organic, foods. If we only could all have our own farms and animals we would be set!