Guest blog by Dr. Gabrielle Lyon
Do you trust food labels?
Food companies get a lot of flexibility in what they report on a food label. They use information about individual ingredients and then estimate what may be in the final product. Food companies are allowed nearly 20% error in an individual package.
Another important example is protein.
The food label reports grams of protein, but protein is never measured. 🤔
The food companies simply measure grams of nitrogen and multiply the number by 6.25 and call it protein. It’s a lot cheaper and much easier to do the chemical analysis for nitrogen than it is for protein.
So that’s a huge benefit for the food companies, but equally important, food companies that are less ethical can inflate their protein number by putting in non-protein nitrogen to the food.
A classic example was the Chinese were found to be guilty of putting in melamine into infant formulas to inflate the protein content. Melamine is a plastic-like material that contains nitrogen. Nitrogen containing compounds like melamine or urea are still allowed in processes foods and show up on the label as protein.
Food companies can manipulate the label to improve marketing.