10 Most Deceptive PR Campaigns in History

Calling 'Sugar' Different Names
The "nutrition facts" label is seen on a box of Pop Tarts at a store in New York, Feb. 27, 2014. Some companies use all kinds of deceptive practices to make the sugar content of their products look smaller. © BRENDAN MCDERMID/Reuters/Corbis

In the 1950s, Americans ate 110 pounds (50 kilograms) of sugar per person annually. By 2000, they were up to 152 pounds (69 kilograms) [source: Clark]. Experts say the most harmful component in our diets today is likely — you guessed it — sugar. So, many of us are trying to lessen our consumption of the sweet stuff. To help, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that ingredients in food products be listed in order of quantity (by weight) from greatest to least. This way, consumers can scan a label and see how much sugar, for one, is in a food product. Except it's not quite that simple.

Food manufacturers don't always want us to know how much sugar is in their products. Some deceive consumers by sweetening a product with several sweeteners. Doing so allows them to list each sweetener separately. So, if their product's main ingredient is sugar, that would be the first item listed in the ingredients — potentially a turn-off for consumers. But if they use, say, four types of sweeteners, that might cause other, healthier ingredients to be listed first, and all of the sugars at or near the end of the list, making the product seem like sugar was a minor part. Another commonly used trick is to call the added sugar in a product "evaporated cane juice," as Greek yogurt-maker Chobani has done. Many consumers think evaporated cane juice is a healthy juice, not just another name for sugar [source: Truth in Advertising].