When Companies Hide Ingredient Lists

Missing Ingredient List

When a company’s website shows product nutrition data, but does not provide ingredient information, it’s an indicator you should avoid its foods.

Why are the ingredients so important?

Because the nutrition facts label can easily be manipulated to make a product seem much healthier than it actually is.


  1. Calories – it’s easy to reduce calories by using artificial sweeteners instead of sugar and by using various processed fillers instead of fat.
  2. Hidden Trans-fats – due to a loophole in FDA regulations, products using partially hydrogenated oils may still be labeled as containing 0 trans-fats, as long as the trans-fats add up to  less than half a gram. But even half a gram of trans-fats is dangerous to consume. What’s more, often serving sizes are tiny and people consume more than half a gram of trans-fats.
  3. Fiber – knowing that fiber is an important nutrient, companies are now bulking up their bars, breads, cereals, yogurts and snacks with inulin, a problematic additive.
  4. Calcium, Vitamin C and other micro-nutrients – processed foods tend to lose some of their nutrients. Vitamin C is notoriously fickle and tends to evaporate very quickly from whole foods once they are cut up and processed. Other foods, low in nutrients, are fortified to make them seem healthier.

By looking at a product’s ingredient list, It’s easy to know if the desirable nutrients are the result of whole foods, or a mix of junk food with nutrient add-ons. That’s why the FDA mandates ingredient lists on product packaging.

However, such information is not available for fast-food and sit-down restaurants. Take Applebee’s, for example. While the company does provide a (hard to read) PDF file listing their product nutrition facts, there is absolutely no ingredient information to be found on its website. Steer clear.

  • NMGranny

    I love Fooducate and read your Daily Tips … well, daily. But I have to tell you again that the annoying pop-up Pin It link to social media drives me nuts. Not only is it so large that it blocks the text (I read on a tablet) but I can’t even move or close it. Please, please either make it go away or install an “X” so I can get rid of it.

    • Carol H

      I concur. Impossible to read on a phone especially.

    • Mary

      I agree 100%. Please fix this annoying issue.

    • http://www.fooducate.com/ Fooducate

      Will prioritize.
      Thanks for the reminder!

      • Anna

        YES! Thank you!!!

      • SixCatFaerie

        Yes, It does pop up when I first click on each daily tip, it goes away on its own after a few seconds. I have a HTC One M8 phone. Previously I had a first generation Droid Razr & it was the same with that phone as with this one. The pop up doesn’t bother me, hopefully Fooducate can make it so that it doesn’t bother others!

    • Dani

      I have the exact same problem. I read on a tablet and reading daily with this issue is annoying.

    • Cindy

      I second that!!! I don’t read this all that often because I hate that pop-up and I read to relax. I don’t relax with that in the way. Just my 2 cents.

  • Disgusted

    I have learned sooooo much from food educate …I love you guys you certainly care about people…thank you…

  • SixCatFaerie

    I adore Fooducate! Thank you for bringing this topic up, I have a hard time getting people to understand that an ingredient list is more important than an overall nutrition panel.

  • Tibb

    It pops up when I first open it, but it immediately hours away on its own..Samsung galaxy 3 user..

  • Tibb


  • John

    I have to disagree with demonizing insulin based on the study presented – minor gastrointestinal distress is a standard symptom of increasing fiber in your diet. Being aware of hidden sources of fiber is good, but in no way does this data support the conclusion that insulin is an additive to be avoided for most people, given how healthy fiber is and that most people don’t get enough. Rather, it suggests that increasing fiber should be done gradually to allow your body time to adjust to higher fiber intake.

    • John

      Of course, I meant inulin and not insulin – was auto-corrected and I didn’t notice!