Are you being tricked into eating certain foods?

Exposing food industry secrets 04:25

You could be tricked into eating certain foods, not knowing what's really inside them.

Reader's Digest interviewed dozens of experts for its article "50 Secrets Food Manufacturers Won't Tell You." The magazine's editor in chief, Liz Vaccariello, revealed the findings and suggested the best way deal with these surprises is by learning more about the products you eat the most.

"You can't educate yourself on everything, but if you care about sugar, if you care about whole grains or fiber, make sure you're aware of the words to look for on the labels," Vaccariello said Thursday on "CBS This Morning."

From sugar to olive oil, here are some tips on what to watch out for.

Watch out for hidden sugar names

Companies may use different names for sugar if a product contains a large amount of it.

"They might put evaporated cane juice, dextrose high fructose corn syrup, agave nectar. They'll use two or three different kinds of sugar so the word 'sugar' isn't the first thing on the ingredients list," Vaccariello said.

Multigrain does not mean whole-grain

"If you see the word 'multigrain' on a package, whether it's cereal or crackers, it usually means just many grains and not whole grains. So if you're looking for fiber in particular, the word 'multigrain' is a little trigger to know that it probably doesn't contain as much as you think," Vaccariello said.

Baked potato chips may not be as healthy as you think

"They're lower calorie, but really they're just conglomerations of highly refined potato flakes and a bunch of powders. So you might be better off just having a real potato chip cooked in healthier oil," she said.

Green labeling may not mean "go"

Behavior labs have found that consumers think a product is healthier if there's green on the packaging, Vaccariello said.

"Manufacturers told Reader's Digest that they know this and they'll use green on something that might not be as healthy. So you need to be looking on the label, looking at ingredients, educating yourself, rather than maybe falling victim to some of the tricks," she said.

Celery powder is naturally high in nitrates

Vaccariello said manufacturers will convert celery powder into a chemical that in a lab behaves the same as nitrates.

"You might see 'no nitrates' or 'no nitrates added' on a meat product for example," she said. "This is often incorrect."

Harvest dates and the color of your olive oil container matters

According to Vaccariello, 70 percent of olive oils pulled off supermarket shelves didn't live up to their "extra virgin" labels.

"Many of the best olive oil manufacturers have a harvest date on the front of the olive oil label, so that can give you even more confidence that it's from a good manufacturer and it's more recent and it hasn't been sitting on the shelf for a few years going rancid," she said.

She also recommended buying olive oil in dark glass or tin containers "because the light can make the olive oil go bad more quickly."