Kate Cornell was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in June of 2005. Since then, she has controlled diabetes through dietary changes, exercise, and, more recently, metformin. She shares her experiences and lessons learned here and on her blog, kates-sweet-success.blogspot.com, which was named as one of the top diabetes blogs for 2015 by Healthline.com.

Living with diabetes means that we are constantly thinking about what foods we eat. Whether we need to figure out how much insulin to bolus or are someone who doesn’t use insulin but needs to track our carb intake, it’s important that we be able to trust the labels on our food.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest has recently taken three major food companies to task for deceptive food labels. An article at the​ Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) tells us how they are threatening to take these companies to court if they don’t cease their deceptive ways.

"Natural" labels

Crystal Light, made by Kraft Foods, is a drink mix that many people with diabetes may enjoy. A product that touts negligible calories and zero carbs is pretty enticing, especially when we are encouraged to stop drinking sugary drinks. The problem CSPI has with Kraft is that they are labeling some of their drinks as “natural” when they are anything but.

In fact, according to CSPI litigation director Stephen Gardner, "Crystal Light, which is almost all chemicals and almost no actual food, is the last product on Earth that should be masquerading as 'natural.'"

Many consumers only read the front of a food package and may not delve into the nutrition label. Deception on the front of the label, such as this, may lead some people to believe they are consuming something healthy when it’s actually filled with chemicals.

False benefit claims

The label on Smart Balance Blended Butter Sticks claims that it will help block cholesterol. This butter blend contains plant sterol esters, which the FDA has said can be claimed to help reduce cholesterol.

However, Smart Balance Blended Butter Sticks do not contain enough of the plant sterol esters to make this claim. You may be dealing with high cholesterol and the possibility of heart disease, but the FDA says Smart Balance, Inc. makes a health claim that is false and could lead people to consume their product hoping for better health.

Hidden sugars

Finally, Abbott Laboratories, makers of Ensure Complete Nutrition Shake and Ensure Muscle Health Shake, are encouraging people to consume two of these shakes per day so they will feel better and that it is "part of a healthy diet."

In reality, two of these shakes will add more sugar to your diet than the American Heart Association’s daily recommended intake. Those of us with diabetes sure don’t need all that added sugar!

Stay healthy

The moral of the story? Always read the complete nutrition labels on any foods you are eating. Educate yourself on what is healthy, and try not to buy into health claims that are made by the manufacturer.

To learn more on this topic:

Artificial Sweeteners: Not as Diabetic-Friendly as You Thought
Good Beverage Options for Diabetics
Diabetes or Not, Foods You Just Shouldn't Eat