Product labels say a lot of things, make many claims. Here are some commonly used terms, and reading between the lines to understand what is actually being said, or not said:

Proprietary Blend:

This means that the product contains a mixture of ingredients, which must be listed in descending order on the basis of amount used. But the manufacturer is not mandated to state exact quantities of each ingredient. Therefore, consumers must be aware that the actual amounts of various ingredients that go into a product might be potentially harmful.

Boosts energy

Usually used by manufacturers of health supplements, – like ‘improves metabolism’ is a vague claim. Under the US FDA’s rules, supplement makers do not need to back their claims with clinical evidence, therefore there is usually no concrete proof that a product will live up to its promise.

All Natural

This is also a very non-specific description. When a product label claims to use ‘organic ingredients’ or that it contains no genetically modified components, or that no artificial ingredients have been added to it, the claims made are specific, and can be verified. ‘All natural’ doesn’t mean anything in particular, and merely dupes a consumer into thinking that it is just another way of saying ‘organic’ or ‘No GM ingredients’ etc.


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