12 Fake Foods You Need to Watch Out For

Today’s consumers are among the most educated. They want to know what they are consuming by reading labels with ingredients listed, and they want to make safe and healthy choices. However, some consumers might be unaware that some of those “healthy foods” they are purchasing could be fake, containing fillers and other not-so-good-for-you ingredients. Before heading to the grocery store, here’s a look at fake foods that you need to watch out for to ensure you get the highest and purest quality possible.

Fruit Juice

Woman holding glass of juice
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We all know that fresh fruit is a healthy part of your daily diet, but the same may not be true about fruit juice. The truth about fruit juice is that it’s usually loaded with sugar. Juice doesn’t contain the same fiber as real fruit, and it contains much more calories. In many cases, fruit juices aren’t even made of pure fruit. If you’re determined to drink fruit juice, it’s probably worth investing in a high-quality juicer so you can make fresh juice at home.

Olive Oil

Olive oil in a jar
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Olive oil is typically a staple ingredient in the kitchen. It is often used for cooking or added to marinades and dressings. The problem is that all olive oil isn’t equal, and many do not offer high nutritional value. The oil may contain lower-grade oils, so the amount of pure olive oil could be diluted. Even the region it claims to come from may be false.
When purchasing olive oil, it is important to look for high-grade and high-quality from a trusted brand. Extra virgin olive oil is best and will contain the highest level of nutrients. This is also why olive oil is more expensive. It undergoes the least amount of processing, which keeps its natural benefits intact.

Substitute Milk

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Substitute milk products have become incredibly popular, and more people are looking for dairy alternatives. Rice, soy, oat, and almond milk all claim to be healthy alternatives. Once again, it’s important to read the label. It’s common for these substitute kinds of milk to have very little of the main ingredient and, therefore, provide few, if any, benefits. A good example is almond milk, which may contain only a few almonds.

Saffron

Saffron
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Saffron is a wildly expensive spice with a unique taste. Unfortunately, some people try to profit by using fake saffron and passing it off as the real thing. It’s common to use barium sulfate and borax, glycerine, tartrazine, and sandalwood dust to replicate the look and texture of saffron. None of these chemicals has any nutritional benefit.

Wine

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Wine is a lovely treat to enjoy with a meal or on its own. Because it can get quite expensive, you want to ensure you’re getting your money’s worth. What’s alarming is that an estimated 5% of the total wine sold to consumers is fake. The most common way to fake wine is to bottle low-quality versions and then use a prestigious seller label on them. Of course, this is illegal, but it doesn’t mean it’s not happening.

Coffee

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Coffee is a favorite beverage worldwide and offers a wide variety of flavors. However, coffee can be expensive depending on the bean and the region it is produced in, so you want to be sure it’s authentic. Buying whole beans is an excellent way to protect against fake products, which are very hard to duplicate. Unfortunately, coffee grinds can be mixed with other ingredients that act as fillers, diluting the amount of beans used and altering the taste.

Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic vinegar with a salad
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You may think you have great balsamic vinegar in your cupboard, but how well do you know the ingredients? True balsamic vinegar should be made in Reggio Emilia or Modena and has a thick, almost syrup-like consistency.

Vanilla

Vanilla extract
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Another kitchen staple used often in baking is vanilla. However, there is a major difference between artificial vanilla and pure vanilla. Artificial vanilla is made in a lab without any pure extracts. Real vanilla comes from vanilla bean pods and should have no other ingredients that act as fillers.

Parmesan

Grated and a block of Parmesan Cheese
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If you have a weakness for cheese, then you have no doubt purchased parmesan before. It adds flavor to pasta dishes and is perfect when freshly grated on salad. But watch out—this cheese is often fake. Did you know that unless the cheese is specifically labeled “Parmigiano-Reggiano,” it’s not real? When it says just parmesan, it means any type of cow’s milk can be used, so you’re paying a high price for a low-quality item.

Tea

Cup of tea with tea bag
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The next time you pour yourself a cup of tea, read the label. Tea is another commonly faked food since tea leaves can be substituted with other things. Leaves from other plants are widely used, and some findings have even shown dyed sawdust in the teabag.

Lobster

Cooked lobster in a plate
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How do you fake lobster you may ask, it’s a sea creature that is a living organism. The fact is that it’s easier to fake than you may think. Anytime you purchase lobster already out of the shell you take a risk. IT could be imitation lobster meat that is made from cheap products. One of the most common substitutes used for lobster is whiting, another type of fish which is much cheaper and not worth the premium price tag.

Honey

Fresh honey
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We all know how tasty and beneficial honey can be to your health, but be careful when shopping for it. Honey comes in different types and grades, which will massively affect the quality. Producers can be sneaky and use sucrose, beet sugar, or even corn syrup as a filler that dilutes the real honey.

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Creating delicious dishes in your own kitchen is a blast, but let’s face it—mistakes happen! Even if you’re a kitchen whiz, you might be falling into some sneaky pitfalls that are sabotaging your tasty creations. The following is a list of some common cooking slip-ups and how to steer clear of them. From the moment you assemble your ingredients to the final dish, these tips will have you cooking up a storm and impressing everyone at the dinner table.

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Kirkland Roasted Chicken placed in a food warmer
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You’ve heard of the saying “You are what you eat”, but what happens if you don’t have all the facts? What if you think you’re making healthy, or at least decent food and drink choices but in reality those items are harming you? Here are 15 extremely unhealthy foods and drinks that Americans just can’t seem to give up, and what they are doing to your health.

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10 Non-Dairy Foods Packed with Calcium

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