Why I Don’t Post Nutritional Data

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17 Apr Why I Don’t Post Nutritional Data

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Step right up! Step right up! Don’t be shy. Nothing to be afraid of. Just a little numbers game. Everyone’s a winner. Every. One’s. A winner!

Looking for that one food, that one special ingredient that will make you taller, smarter, lighter, brighter, wealthier and more good-looking? Well, look no further. I have something here that will astound and amaze you. Something they say cannot be done. Something that defies the very laws of nature herself.  

I can make nutrients appear and disappear out of thin air.

And if you’re not completely satisfied, it’s double your money back. Just return the unused portion, along with the original receipt, your date of birth, and photos of any and all tattoos. Some restrictions apply. Offer not valid in the state of Hawaii.

Nothing up my sleeve, I assure you. See the labels below? Take a look. Take a hard look. Both are for dried golden berries. Plain old, nothing added, as-is golden berries. Both brands proudly proclaim their product to be organic and GMO-free. Look at the nutritional data. Look closely. With a wave of my hand…

Comparing nutritional data of chia seeds - TheMessyBaker.com

…the package on the right  has 13% more carbs, 33% more fiber and 50% more protein. But wait. There’s more. I made the fat disappear. There’s no fat. No even a trace. The other has a gram.

How do I do it, you ask? Ah, that would spoil the fun.

Want to see it again? This time I present you with chickpeas. Cooked with a bit of salt and tinned. Ready?

What’s that you say? The label on the left is for 1/2 a cup and the label on the right is for a whole cup? Well, aren’t you astute. You’re watching me closely. Alrighty then. Playing fair, I’ll make sure we look at a full cup of each.

Comparing nutritional data for tinned chickpeas - TheMessyBaker.com

Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen, your eyes do not deceive you — or your calculator. Based on a 1-cup serving, the label on the left has 62% more calories, 33% more fat, 70% more carbs, 228% more fiber and 81% more protein.

Again, I assure you. There’s nothing up my sleeve.

Oh, so you think you know how I do it? Okay. Let’s play for real this time. Ready? I present you with tinned tomatoes. Whole tinned tomatoes.

Comparing nutritional data of canned whole tomatoes - TheMessyBaker.com

If you guessed the can on the right would have 57% more calories and carbs, but twice the sugars you could be a winner. You did? Well, congratulations! I can’t fool you.

But… did you also guess it would simultaneously lose 74% of its vitamin A and C ? No?

Sorry, folks. Better luck next time.

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6 Comments
  • Amy Proulx
    Posted at 22:15h, 17 April Reply

    Bang on! I hated nutrition labels with the CFIA because we intentionally understood you would typically have around 20% error. Rounding rules, that makes and breaks your whole claims system. I now teach people how to design those labels, but equally I stress the fact that the nutrition facts panels are ball park estimates when done by database. I might just post this blog article in one of my classes.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 22:51h, 17 April Reply

      Thanks for helping solve the mystery, Amy. I appreciate you taking the time to explain a bit about what goes on behind the scenes. Feel free to post this blog or use it as you see fit with your students / fellow experts.

  • Robin Smart
    Posted at 02:46h, 18 April Reply

    I thought this was a fascinating post, and very funny. As an dedicated label reader it was very germane to my daily life.
    Bet they always round down on calories and up on nutrition.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 12:42h, 18 April Reply

      I’m an avid label reader, too. That’s how I noticed. I figured there would be a bit of a difference brand to brand, but I 228%? Amy, the first commenter, says they allow up to 20%. These differences seem to grow exponentially! Either that or they’re just spinning a wheel 😉

  • NS Foster
    Posted at 17:29h, 18 April Reply

    Hah! Bang-on!

    (That’s all I’ve got–I just felt the reaction that strongly 😉 )

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 15:41h, 19 April Reply

      Thanks for sharing your reaction!

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