Real Cheese!

Arlette from Albuquerque, NM, saw this label, and wrote in:

“The box claims it's made with 100% real cheese. Of course one expects flour in a cracker, but the white cheddar cheese is the last ingredient, and the product admits to having less than 2% cheddar.  So 100% real cheese is not a lie, but it sure is deceptive.”

Charlotte says:

Thanks, Arlette! Just because one ingredient in a product is "real" doesn't mean that it's healthy. But "real food" claims seem to be a trend on today's packaged grocery store products.

You've probably heard Michael Pollan’s famous advice for healthy eating:

“Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”

By “eat food,” he meant real food, not the ultra-processed kind. And he's not wrong—the Dietary Guidelines for Americans also stress the importance of eating a variety of nutrient-dense foods. The label "Made with 100% real cheese” may make shoppers feel like they're making smart choices, but... claiming there is one “real food” ingredient can't transform a processed food into something good for you.

Real cheese in your diet, for example, would provide calcium, a beneficial nutrient that is one of the building blocks of strong bones. A typical serving of cheddar cheese (1 ounce) supplies 200 milligrams of calcium, that's 20% of the daily value for this nutrient. But, according to the Nutrition Facts on this product, a serving of these cheesy crackers supply only 30 milligrams—plus plenty of sodium and empty calories.