8 Common Questions About Nutrition

by Molly Hembree, MS, RD, LD

Last Updated: October 2, 2020

There are many questions you might have about food, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, and a nutrition expert within a grocery store chain may have the insights to help you make an informed decision about what products to buy. Here are some questions we hear all the time at Kroger Health.
  1. Am I allowed to eat this (muffin, yogurt, applesauce, etc.) if I have diabetes?
    Yes. Meal planning for those with diabetes does not have to be sugar restrictive. This is a common misconception. Carbohydrates, in general, should be consistent, and total intake of carbohydrates (not just sugar) should be monitored and accounted for daily. Speak with a certified diabetes educator or physician, along with your dietitian, about how to align diet, exercise, and any insulin/diabetic medications you may be currently taking for optimal blood sugar control.
  2. Why is MSG in products?
    Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a naturally occurring amino acid. It is used in foods to create a savory taste without adding additional sodium. Studies on MSG have not indicated any risk to the general population’s health. However, MSG must be listed clearly in an ingredients list if it is present in a product. It cannot be grouped under “flavors” or any other heading.
  3. Is there gluten in my (ice cream, canned fruit, oatmeal, etc.)? Should I be following a gluten-free diet?
    Gluten restriction is appropriate for those diagnosed as gluten intolerant or those who have celiac disease. Wheat, barley (and malt), rye, and sometimes oats contain gluten. It is not currently mandatory for a product to be labeled with its gluten status. To find out if gluten was used to make a product, review the allergen statement on your product for the presence of wheat, then contact the company who makes your product. For Kroger products you can dial: 1-800-632-6900.
  4. I think my whole milk is mislabeled. It has skim milk in it!
    Whole milk can contain skim milk. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), skim milk, cream, or a combination of both may be used to obtain the correct milk fat percentage for a certain milk. Whole milk must be 3.25-3.5% milkfat, and this can indeed be reached by adding skim milk before packaging.
  5. I’ve had chocolate chips opened in my pantry for 10 months, are they still ok to eat?
    No, it is not recommended to consume products that are perishable and have exceeded their shelf life and/or Use By (or Best By) date. Taking this chance not only greatly sacrifices the product’s quality, but also could expose you to mold, bacteria, or yeast, which could then lead to undesirable gastrointestinal symptoms or other problems. Check out the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Keeper app for more information about the shelf life of foods.
  6. What about high fructose corn syrup?
    High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is present in many foods and beverages. It is an acceptable sweetener derived from corn starch with additional fructose added to its structure through an enzymatic process. High fructose corn syrup is usually between 42-55% fructose, which is very similar to sucrose (table sugar) in terms of fructose content. High fructose corn syrup has not been demonstrated to cause more detrimental effects than other traditional caloric sweeteners like cane or beet sugar.
  7. Are Kroger products made in a nut-free facility?
    Ultimately, no. We cannot guarantee dedicated lines or facilities at The Kroger Co., as we operate 35 manufacturing plants and use hundreds of other suppliers. All the facilities which distribute Kroger products use allergen washes and may even dismantle equipment to eliminate any presence of a major allergen before moving on to a different product.
  8. What is the country of origin of your food (beans, crackers, cookies, etc.)?
    Not all Kroger products are from the U.S. There are many reasons to take advantage of global food products, including taste, quality, and sustainable sourcing. Products sold on Kroger’s shelves that may originate from another country must still meet safety standards just like any foods from the United States. Additionally, not all products are required to list the country of origin, per USDA labeling laws.

It's important to be an informed consumer. Knowing more details about food can help. Chat with a Kroger Health Dietitian by scheduling a Telenutrition appointment.

Disclaimer: This information is educational only and not providing healthcare recommendations. Please see a healthcare provider.

Molly Hembree, MS, RD, LD

Molly Hembree, MS, RD, LD

Molly can help you simplify eating, all while building excitement around good food and freeing up time for all the things that really matter in your life. With a knack for food labeling and regulations, weight management, food intolerances, and plant-based eating, Molly is ready to help you make sense of food again. When not on the clock, Molly can be found hip-hop dancing, cuddling up with her two mischievous cats, playing trombone, or honing in on her food photography skills.