Reading Food Labels
Reading food labels is a skill. Marketing is quite clever at making foods look healthy. However, there are lots of ways to shop smart when you enter a grocery store. My first tip, shop from the outer perimeter walls of the store as that is where the fresh, raw foods will be. Once you do the periphery, enter the middle, but remember, if it is in a box, it is most likely not the best for you!
Reading Food Labels General Rules:
- Avoid foods with any types of preservatives.
- Watch out for words ending in –ite, -ate (preservatives), natural flavoring
- Words ending in –ose or –ase
- Oils to avoid: Canola, Safflower, hydrogenated, or partially hydrogenated fats
- Avoid high fructose corn syrup, any dyes
- Fortified or enriched: An added vitamin that is separated from other whole food components that have the minerals and enzymes that are needed to make the vitamin efficient in your body. This will rob you of nutrients to process.
READ LABELS VERY CAREFULLY.
Do not be fooled by NO ARTIFICIAL INGREDIENTS
Statements like these do not mean there are no harmful additives in the product; there may be harmful ingredients. Buying a product in a health food store does not guarantee that packaged products you buy will be free of harmful additives either.
Food Additives to Avoid
- Acesulfame-K – “Sunette”
- Ammonium sulfate
- Artificial colors
- Free glutamates: autolyzed yeast, calcium caseinate, enzymes, flavors & flavorings, gelatin, glutamate, glutamic acid, hydrolyzed protein, hydrolyzed soy protein, plant protein extract, protease, protease enzymes, sodium caseinate, textured protein, yeast extract, yeast food and yeast nutrient. May be in barley malt, bouillon, broth, carrageenan, malt extract, malt flavoring, maltodextrin, natural flavors, natural chicken flavoring, natural beef flavoring, natural pork flavoring, pectin, seasonings, soy protein, soy protein concentrate, soy protein isolate, soy sauce, soy sauce extract, stock, whey protein, whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, anything that is enzyme-modified, fermented, protein fortified or ultra-pasteurized and foods that advertise NO MSG (see MSG)
- High fructose corn syrup
- Hydrogenated vegetable oils
I realize this list is overwhelming. I am taken aback by it and why I do most of my shopping on the periphery of a store, shop at a farmers market, and butcher. FOOD ADDITIVES: A Shopper’s Guide To What’s Safe & What’s Not book might be an excellent option to carry with you when you shop to familiarize yourself with labels.
Just being more aware and avoiding what you can will make a profound difference in your long-term health. Therefore, be aware, take it slow and be gentle with yourself!
PS Shoutout to Ben White for the fun image