When Cheap is Expensive

Sometimes labels and pictures can be deceiving! It’s VITAL that the label on the bottle should in the least contain what it states, no? Sadly, many on the shelves in fact, do not. I am not sure how this is acceptable or passes FDA (you know that agency America relies upon for the safety and trust of our food and drugs?) regulations. Let me shine some crystallized light on the FDA and labeling. It’s an agency that has a HUGE job, and not everything is actually tested or seen by the FDA.

Reportedly- the FDA merely requires that 10% of most said supplements actually have in the product being sold to you. What does this mean? Many of your supplements- like Vitamin D, Omega’s, St. John’s wart etc. do not have the amount (if any) of substance that the label states. Some have more, most have far less. Adding salt to the wound, some have been found to have fillers like random plants, or wheat in them. This poses a huge problem for the following important reasons:

  1. The said herb won’t achieve desired effects as it’s dosage is grossly mislabeled- if at all contained in the bottle which then means that the person will surmise that the herb or supplement “didn’t do anything for me”.
  2. Allergens become a concern as fillers are now present that are unmentioned on the label. This can even lead to adverse reactions for the person taking the herb/supplement.

I always tell my patients that you get what you pay for. When you see a bottle of Slippery Elm at one place for $15 and another has it for $8 and you get the $8, you didn’t just save $7, you wasted $8. You often get what you pay for when it comes to vitamins and supplements. And online? Sure it’s often cheaper but you have no idea if they stored it in some humid hot warehouse that detriment ed the medicinal intent of your purchase.

Over 90 percent of seafood in the U.S. is imported, and only about 2 percent of that catch is inspected at the border. But don’t assume farm-raised fish is a safer bet. For farm raised salmon, these contain triple the amount of saturated fat, less nutrients, the artificial feed is high in fat with antibiotics for higher yield in tight farm quarters with high levels of PCB making it 10 times more cancerous, and also injected with a die to make the farm raised salmon the familiar color we are used to, as farm raised salmon flesh is grey, not pink causing the country to start a Child Cancer Donation Charity event to help the unfortunate.

Most of the juice in juice beverages is apple, even if it’s labeled blueberry or cranberry: “Apple juice is the cheapest, and manufacturers aren’t required to list percentages on the label.”

More than 75 percent of the honey sold in the U.S. isn’t honey, according to testing performed recently by Food Safety News. Why? Because honey harvested from US bees naturally is more expensive.  Most honey sold in the United States is processed through major filtration that removes virtually all of the pollen naturally occurring in the product. This practice would flunk quality standards in many of the world’s food safety agencies; in other words, it’s not technically honey anymore. Most honey on store shelves is fake sugar.

Think you’re not eating MSG? Well you probably are. All the time! This ingredient has “safely” passed the FDA’s approval to be disguised in at least 40 different names. It’s gotten a bad name, so what does a corporation that still wants to make millions do? It’s easy. Don’t disclose it under the name that people recognize. But to their credit, it’s not always that easy when it comes to food labeling. Sometimes it gets very complex because MSG can be an additive, or is found naturally as a result of the process in digestion or the processing of making foods (processed or refined foods). This includes “milk alternatives” like soy milk and almond milk. Veggie burgers. Fake protein powders/shakes esp. vegan/vegetarian ones. While it’s kind to support animal free eating, often the alternatives are creepier, extremely altered foods states and at times, less environmental when you’re looking at processed meat/cheese substitutes.

Why you should stay AWAY from high fructose corn syrup is an entire entry of its own. But. If you are the savvy consumer enlightened enough to know you maybe shouldn’t eat it, or have heard it’s not the healthiest thing to eat, and have also heard the bad press around it- well massive food companies and the corn industry (CRA) are aware of your concerns. What does this look like? Maybe making your food healthier? Finding better, less dangerous ingredients? Nah. Just call it something else you silly! So.  Moving forward you should look for the new labels as simply “fructose”, or “fructose syrup” and “fruit fructose”. Here’s a GREAT way to EASILY identify crappy, man-made added sugars: if it ends in “ose” know that it’s not an ingredient you’ll want to eat. These include: Sucrose, Maltose, Dextrose, Fructose, Glucose, Galactose, Lactose, High fructose corn syrup, Glucose solids- see the pattern?

So- why is all of this happening? Two reasons:

  1. Consumers in America want cheap. Correction. They want want’s cheap, now. At the register in front of them, now. The above is cheap (now) and yields MASSIVE profits.
  2. We like things to always look and taste good. That means fake dyes, pretty colors, and altered ingredients.

The problem? This isn’t cheap. It’s expensive. How low is your grocery bill? It’s much lower to purchase honey and supplements at Walmart, Walgreens, or the common grocery chain. That is hands down undeniably true. But how expensive is Americas health care costs? Cancer is not cheap. Diabetes is not cheap.  People are spending boat loads, thousands of dollars on digestive disorders, food allergies, or hemorrhoids but for this last one at Walmart you can buy pills at a good price. Not only is your heart disease or digestive issue costing money to diagnose and treat, but the side effects of the procedure/s and medication/s thereafter are also costing you a pretty penny. You lost work, you’re stressed. It hurts. You lose sleep. Suddenly maybe it’s not so cost effective to pursue the cheapest meat, honey, fruit, supplement.  Auto-immune and food allergies are up nearly 75% in America in the past 30 years. More and more of us either find ourselves, or are having children that literally cannot eat the foods we have created. It’s time to shift the lens on what we deem is cheap and cost effective. It’s sad that we have shaped and accepted that the quality of our health is based on a dollar.

What’s a girl/boy to do? We aren’t hopeless. You have the choice. Find your local natural grocer. Small companies from the grocer to the supplement producer, to the farmer will nearly always be a more honest and healthier (not cheaper in the immediate sense) way to go. There’s this hypocrisy of the public who claim they “hate workin’ for the man” and complain about the “1%” and big corporations getting away with anything, but yet- they put their money right into the pockets of the corp they would like to see have less power. By spending money at your local grocer, you are supporting the local economy, (your neighbors) the real American farmers, kinder agricultural practices with less environmental impact, and putting better ingredients into your own future. Plus, bonus- you will feel better! No one will ever care about your health more than you do, so make your choices count.

Resources:

Elephant Journal

Hungry for Change

National Geographic