Food Package Claims That Deserve a Double Take

Here are some claims that warrant a closer look before you buy: 

1. Foods claiming to "support your immune system." A food can carry this claim if it contains certain levels of nutrients that, when deficient in the diet, can negatively affect the immune system. But that doesn't mean that adding those nutrients to a product will supercharge your immunity. And it doesn't guarantee that the food making the claim is healthful by other measures. 

2. Sugary foods that advertise their virtues. Fruity Pebbles cereal does indeed contain the vitamin D prominently advertised on the front of the package. But 37 percent of Fruity Pebbles' calories come from sugar -- and it does not, despite the name, include any fruit.

3. Treats that are "made with real fruit." Strawberry Cereal Bars bear the "made with real fruit" claim.  The filling's first two ingredients (high-fructose corn syrup and corn syrup) are forms of sugar. Then comes "strawberry puree concentrate" followed by glycerin, more sugar, water, and so on.

4. Products claiming they're "natural." This is virtually meaningless.

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