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Food Labels: What Do They Really Mean?

Gone are the days of having only one type of eggs to choose from. Anyone who’s ever gone grocery shopping has, more than likely, been overwhelmed with the sheer number of choices out there in terms of food labels. It’s more than just the brand variety, it’s the “gluten free”, “free range”, “cage free”, “vegan”, “organic”, “grain fed”, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

What does it all really mean? Does any of it really matter, or is it a marketing gimmick that works in an age where we are so consumed by what we’re consuming? Don’t misunderstand: scientists have uncovered that what you eat really does matter, but to what extent do food labels help? We’ve created a guide for you to help you get a grip on what you’re really seeing as you travel the aisles of your grocery store.


We’ll start with one of the most common: you see it in the produce section and in just about every aisle you stroll down in any store. What does it mean? Goods that are 100% organic are made with 100% organic ingredients (no additives, chemicals, pesticides, fertilizers, dyes or solvents) and usually display the USDA Organic Seal– a key component to look for in determining whether or not the labeling is a marketing scam or really legit.

Free Range and Cage Free

When it comes to eggs, you might wonder… what in the world is the difference in free range and cage free and any other type of egg? In short, free range eggs are eggs that are produced from birds that may or may not be permitted outdoors. Free range and cage free simply mean the birds aren’t restricted in terms of movement, though that leaves much to question about how they are restricted (not to mention the health components of genetically or chemically modified products). To pick the best egg product, go with the Certified organic option, which ensures that hens are cage free, permitted outdoors, allowed to engage in natural behaviors, and are without added chemicals.

Gluten Free

The “gluten free” trend is far from over, though it has been uncovered that for some- it need not only be a trend. Gluten in excess and specifically paired with processed junk causes major health concerns that stem from inflammation. Otherwise, certain individuals have a gluten allergy or intolerance, which leads to major problems – digestive issues, inflammation issues, and other problems.

So, a company that is claiming their product is “gluten free” is claiming that their product is without wheat, barley, rye and oats. What’s interesting about the gluten free food label? Many products that have never been made with gluten have, in recent years, slapped a “Gluten Free” label on their product, charged more and sold more, though the product remained the same. In those cases? Gluten Free labeling is a major marketing gimmick!


Vegan and vegetarian… are they the same? What does the vegan labeling entail? Though a vegetarian has some blurred lines as to what is and isn’t acceptable, a vegan doesn’t eat or use animal products, and any labeling should indicate as such.

Hopefully our guide will assist in determining exactly what you’re buying at the store!


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