Label-reading can be a tricky business, at best, but when companies try to fool you with promises of healthy choices, then we really are in trouble.

Look at the following examples of why we need to educate ourselves about food and learn to stick with clean, non-packaged foods as much as possible:

There is a jam that claims to contain just fruit, but actually contains more syrup than actual fruit, and less fibre. The syrup comes from cheaper types of fruit such as apples, pineapples and pear concentrate.

A multi-grain version of a chip looks healthier than its own “Four Wholesome Grains” product: the chips are a darker colour and you can assume that “multi” is better than “four”, but the truth is there is more sugar in the multigrain brand. You can take an Ezekiel or whole-grain wrap and bake it in the oven to make healthier chips.

There is a breakfast cereal that claims to have the goodness of fruit with the taste of berries. While it may taste like berries, it actually contains no berries at all and contains yogurt powder, which has no beneficial bacterial culture due to the heating process. Why not just eat yogurt and berries and skip the cereal part altogether?

Some frozen pancake are advertised to be made of whole grains, but when you actually read the ingredients, you realize it is primarily white flour, although there are whole grains in there near the end of the ingredient list.

A cheesecake, that is offered as a more healthy option to others, actually has 250 calories and 7.5 grams of saturated fat in one small piece. Read the serving size. It may have 35 per cent less saturated fat than their original, but “less than” does not equal healthy.

As a comparison, a typical donut has 260 calories and 4.5 grams of saturated fat and is much larger than that piece of cake that you thought was a healthier choice.

Speaking of donuts, we’d assume that cookies would be a smarter choice, right? Wrong. Some cookies have upwards of 300 calories. Their new cookies have an average of 250 calories each and eight grams of saturated fat. If you’re at a restaurant and need a treat, grab a low-fat version, instead (it totals 150 calories).

Lastly, I am going to complain about these new vitamin drinks. Have you ever noticed that there is no nutritional information on these drinks? Since there are vitamins added to these drinks, the companies can now label them as “nutritional supplements” and they are no longer legally required to put nutritional information on the label.

Be careful when purchasing items such as vitamin water, which can have over 100 calories per serving and added sugar to make it taste good. Just have water and a multivitamin, instead; you’ll re-hydrate without the added calories.

This column is provided by Peak Fitness. Mrs. Lee Randell is an ACE-certified personal trainer. Contact information and past articles are available at www.pkfitness.yk.ca/Clients. Anyone who wants to begin an exercise program should consult their physician first.

This column is provided by Mrs. Lee Randell, independent fitness consultant, who is an ACE certified advanced health and fitness specialist and personal trainer. You can reach her at www.mrsleerandell.com.