Healthwashing & Food Labels: understanding ingredient lists.

Healthwashing & Food Labels: understanding ingredient lists.

At Pretty Clean Shop we're all about supporting a natural, healthy, eco-friendly lifestyle. With sustainability as the spine of our project/business, we strive to deliver products with ingredients that are: non-toxic, biodegradable, natural or naturally-derived, safe for environment, humans and animals.

We'll be joining Melissa Cosentino, Holistic Nutritionist, on April 28th as a Guest Speaker in the masterclass: Toxic Overload, to talk about products that can aid in detoxifying your body. 

Melissa is the founder of MellyFit Nutrition a Toronto-based Clinical Practice where she offers Nutritional Counselling. She specializes in digestive care, food sensitivities, meal planning, detoxification, sports nutrition, and stress management.

This article written by Melissa Cosentino, covers some of the information that will be available in the masteclass. 


For a lot of my clients, one of the most overwhelming steps they encounter on their health journey is learning to read food labels and ingredient lists. Not only are food labels and ingredient lists wordy and misleading, but a lot of us feel like we need to learn another language just to understand what the ingredients are! So, in order to avoid the confusion and ensuing overwhelm, it’s understandable that people rely on packaging “buzz phrases” to help them make a healthy choice.

However, this is a common tactic used by “health food” companies and “health food” marketing to attract a health conscious consumer without really offering a healthy product. This is something called “Health Washing”. Health washing is when companies use deceptive marketing to portray the “health benefits” of their product, when in reality their product is full of sugar, sodium, and/or preservatives. For example, a package at the grocery store might have phrases like “low in sugar” or “sugar-free” stamped on the front but, when inspected closer, are actually loaded with artificial sweeteners and chemicals. A box of cereal, for example, may be “free of artificial colours or flavours”, but packed with sugar or sodium. Essentially, it’s like trying to mask a steaming pile of garbage with a spritz of air freshener.

There are so many misleading labels slapped on food packages that create the illusion that you are making a healthy choice! As a key component in my nutritional consulting, this is actually one of my favorite topics to discuss with my clients! There are some simple tricks and phrases to look out for that’ll raise a red flag in your mind to double check the ingredients! For example, if you see one of the labels listed below on any “health foods”, double check the ingredient list to make sure it’s actually a healthy choice that aligns with your goals and your health journey.

  • Low-fat
  • Low calorie
  • Fat-free
  • Sugar-free
  • Natural
  • 100% natural
  • Fortified with (Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Calcium, etc)
  • Made with all-natural ingredients
  • Made with real ingredients
  • Made with real fruit
  • Low sodium
  • Low cholesterol
  • Cholesterol-free
  • Source of fibre
  • Source of omega-3s
  • Source of probiotics
  • Provides X% of your recommended daily amount of (protein, fiber, calcium, iron, etc)
  • Free from … (artificial colours, artificial flavours, etc.)

For a more in depth explanation surrounding Health Washing and Ingredient Lists, register for my Toxic Load Master Class on April 28th Here!


To learn more about Melissa click here and to book a FREE discovery call.

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