Reading food labels
How to read food labels.
This might seem like common sense to most but I guess I was wrong! Ever since I can remember I’d read the labels of everything I put into my body. Grocery shopping literally takes me hours sometimes. But with modern technology and copious amounts of info online it makes it a tad easier. The problem with modern day society is that we are all brain washed by what is “healthy” and by corporate greed by big food companies cutting corners to make a bigger profit. They hide certain things in foods thats not even fit for animals to eat but somehow the FDA cleared it for human consumption. Anyways thats a whole book I'm going to write in the future with science backing this up and links to all the studies. But for now here is how to read a label and what to avoid….
Firstly, the first ingredient is supposed to be the main ingredient, and the second is the second most, in quantity. How certain companies get around this is by putting “proprietary blend” on the label.
“The FDA requires manufacturers to list all of the ingredients in a product on its label, along with the amount of each (in terms of weight), unless the ingredients are part of a proprietary blend—then the specific amount of each individual ingredient in the blend does not have to be listed, only the total.”
Thats very common for supplements but for food this is insane! More on that later. Another thing these companies do is by masking ingredients with fancy names like “hydrolized” or “modified something”.
Any time when something is made in a lab and doesn’t occur naturally in nature chances are its not doing your body any good. One of the most dangerous things you can put in your body is High Fructose Corn Syrup. Yep, thats in most things you eat or drink if you haven’t been reading the labels start today! If you don’t care about your health then don’t, but then again you wouldn’t be reading this if you didn’t care.
Another one is “nonnutritive sweeteners”. Now there are a few exceptions to this rule and I’ll have to write a whole blog about that in the future. But for now here are a few things that should be avoided.
- Glutamic Acid (E 620)
- Glutamate (E 620)
- Monosodium Glutamate (E 621)
- Monopotassium Glutamate (E 622)
- Calcium Glutamate (E 623)
- Monoammonium Glutamate (E 624)
- Magnesium Glutamate (E 625)
- Natrium Glutamate
- Yeast Extract
- Anything “hydrolyzed”
- Any “hydrolyzed protein”
- Calcium Caseinate
- Sodium Caseinate
- Yeast Food
- Yeast Nutrient
- Autolyzed Yeast
- Fruit juice concentrate
Watch out for clever marketing on labels such as “fat free” , “low fat” , “low carb” , “no sugar added” , “all natural” or even “Gluten Free”
This might just be the “health claim” of the moment right now. Food items that are marketed as “gluten-free” are by law void of gluten or wheat, any ingredient that would potentially cause digestive harm to someone with Celiac disease or a severe wheat/gluten allergy. What these products aren’t free of, however, are calories, and they often contain quite a lot of them. If you don’t have a specific condition, like Celiac, going gluten-free doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll lose weight. That said, lowering the amount of gluten or wheat you consume may increase your energy levels or help you feel better digestively, but keep an eye on how much gluten-free bread, cookies, cakes, and chips you eat. Just because they’re sans gluten, that doesn’t give you license to eat with abandon. Look for healthy carbohydrates that are naturally gluten-free, like rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes, beans, and quinoa
Grabbing an “organic” item in the grocery store doesn’t mean you’ve hit a pot of calorie-free gold. Organic cheese puffs, ice cream, and chocolate-creme cookies do not make up a balanced diet. Organic is defined as any item with at least 95 percent organic ingredients–no hormones, genetically modified ingredients, additives, antibiotics, or radiation. But aim to focus your “organic” attention on items that should appear in your diet frequently, like grains, fruits and vegetables, specifically those with permeable skins.
Sugar-Free & No Sugar Added
Knocking sugar out of our diets is something most of us have attempted at one point or another. And yes, it’s a good idea to keep added sugar to a minimum and look to nature-made sources of sweetness. Too bad products claiming they’re sugar-free or have “no sugar added” are generally loaded with non-natural artificial sweeteners or man-made (manipulated) sugar alcohols, which can wreak havoc on a sensitive digestive system. The word “artificial” says it all. Choose the real deal when it comes to sugar or sweeteners (or treats that include them) like honey, agave nectar, maple syrup, and fresh fruit juices and purees…and keep their amounts on the lighter side.
Fat Free or Low fat
Especially in dairy products, is a huge selling point for the big food companies. In the 80’s they somehow made people believe that fat made you fat. While fat is higher in calories (1 gram of fat is 9 calories whereas 1 gram of protein and carb is 4 calories) it doesn’t mean that it’ll make you fat. In fact, good fats help you burn fat and controls weight and food cravings and balances hormones out. When they take fat out of milk, cheese or yogurt they usually replace it with super high amounts of sugar to give it the same consistency. While sugar will spike your insulin levels and make you lethargic and even make you more hungry, fat doesn’t work the same way. Fat actually stabilize the blood sugar and regulates energy and hormones. I can write a whole book on this but in short, “fat free” yogurt is probably way worse for your health than the full fat version. Next week I’ll go more into detail on this subject by writing about the top Myths that we somehow still believe!
I was gonna write another 900 words on how to read the macros on labels but lets be honest watching a video would be a nice change of pace. Heres a video that my good friends at the Heatlh Nerd made. Check out their channel for some really fun and informative videos.
In closing. You are what you eat. We have all heard this and in a way its true. But to be more accurate the saying should read “You are what you eat, eats”
Think about this. If you eat a chicken breast and all that chicken ate was coco puffs and modified corn snacks and whatever cheap refined foods they could pump into its poor little chicken system. If the chicken was given antibiotics and hormones cause it was sick, obese and didn’t have any real muscle fibers cause it sat in a cage with no exercise. If that chicken was mass produced for more profits. If that chicken was so unhealthy it couldn’t even mate with another of its kind. If that chicken had heart problems, blood pressure problems and a whole lot of chicken diseases that I don’t have time to google right now. How do you think that would effect you? If you think that it will effect you the same as a free range chicken that was fed a good healthy diet then you need to read some books or watch some youtube videos! Also if that doesn’t make any sense to you then you’re gonna need a lot of help in life!!!!!!!