How to Read Food Labels: Take Control of Your Health

HJ: Learning to properly read food labels is one of the most liberating skills you can acquire for taking full control of your health.  And, more specifically, the ingredients label, which is the true tell-all when it comes to understanding just what is in the food you’re eating.

I constantly come across people who ‘think’ that they are eating healthy, however, it is clear to me that they are not reading food labels, as the foods they are eating contain preservatives, added sugar, flavor enhancers, GMO ingredients and unhealthy oils, among other things.  These people think they are eating healthy because they are buying organic foods or only shopping at health food stores.  The ingredients panel reveals all… It does not matter if you only shop at Whole Foods or your local health food store.  In fact, these stores are in their own way as highly deceptive as traditional supermarkets — they give the impression and illusion that they only sell healthy foods, when, in fact, a large percentage of the food they sell is not really healthy at all — only healthier than their highly processed counterparts.  You would be wise to read the ingredients panel to get the full story.  It will be a highly revealing experience if you are not already engaging in the practice.  I promise you will find that many of your foods contain lots of sugar, MSG hidden under a variety of names (most commonly yeast extract, hydrolyzed protein, torula yeast and natural flavors), anti-caking agents like maltodextrin (usually from GMO Corn and almost always made in China), and unhealthy oils (sunflower, canola, corn, cottonseed and more).

As always, one must never accept things at face value.  Always question and educate yourself.  Knowledge gives you freedom and liberation from false beliefs.

- Truth

By Beth Anderson | Holistic Health Hot Spot

 

In today’s market you have to think like a lawyer in order to understand what is in your food, what might be in your food, and what definitely is in your food. Never buy anything unless you read the food label first. Here are the important things to look for in a food label.

First of all read the front of the label and look for key phrases, guarantees, and claims. The label may say many things, but do not buy products that say any of these:

  • Fat free – unless the product was already fat-free, such as fruit. Fake fats can cause a multitude of health issues.
  • Sugar free – unless the product was already sugar-free, such as chicken. Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose, and saccharine can cause cancer. Neither fat-free or sugar-free products are necessarily low calorie.
  • Improved – this indicates that a formula has been modified and a whole food has been made even less whole in the process.
  • 100 Calories or Less – these foods are part of a campaign to make dieters feel like they can have low-calorie treats. The United State continues to become more obese and sick the longer these campaigns continue.
  • Fruit drink – this is a chemical concoction that tastes like fruity candy.
  • Multi-Grain (unless it says 100% whole grain) – No grain claim means anything healthy unless it specifically says “100% Whole” before the name of the grain.
  • Meaningless terms: Natural, All-Natural, Organic, No Artificial *. The only reliable mark is the Certified USDA Organic.

Next, if you are still interested in the product, turn it over and look at the nutritional label. Look for the number of servings in the container first. This indicates the size of the portion that all of the other numbers pertain to. Remember how tiny this portion is when you think about the rest of the information.

Next, look at the Fats. Specifically look for Trans Fats. If there are ANY Trans Fats in the product put it down. Don’t forget that there can be up to .5 g of Trans fats and the label will still report 0. Trans fats have caused more heart disease over the past 50 years than you can believe. If there are saturated fats, make sure that the fats are organic, virgin, unrefined oils such as nuts oils, coconut, avocado, or pure ghee.

Next, look at the total number of grams of protein, carbohydrate, and fat. The more balanced the numbers are, the closer to a healthy mix the food is. For example, if a product is all carbohydrate and fat with no protein, you need to make sure you are eating protein in the same meal. In general try to select balanced foods.

Look at the number of grams of sodium per serving. A person needs 500 mg of sodium per day, and probably no more than 1000-1500 mg per day if not restricted medically.

Under the carbohydrates, look at the total grams of sugar. A healthy person can probably tolerate 30 grams of added sugar in our diet daily. Once you start reading label you will discover that sugar is hidden in more products than you would like to know about.

The next step is the most important step in reading your food label. Read the ingredients list. Ingredients are listed in reverse order of the amount in the food. Try to use the following guidelines:

  • Buy products with only 1-3 ingredients, maybe 5 ingredients at the MOST if you must. The more ingredients, the more garbage that will be present. Buy as many whole foods as you can. A whole food has only one ingredient.
  • Don’t buy foods with ingredients you can’t pronounce or don’t know what they are.
  • Don’t buy foods with artificial coloring, flavoring, enhancers, sweeteners, or preservatives. Don’t believe things labeled “natural” are healthy.
  • Don’t buy foods with sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, MSG, BHA, BHT, nitrate, nitrite, BVO (brominated veg oil), or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils

You will soon find that you can’t buy very many prepared foods at the grocery and have a feeling of comfort in the health value of them anymore. Increase cooking at home and learning how to make simple, fun, and delicious recipes for yourself and your family. You might have to cook on the weekends and eat leftovers during your work week, but your body will thank you for it.


2 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. “Don’t buy foods with ingredients you can’t pronounce or don’t know what they are.”

    I think the most important part is understanding all of the long-winded words in the ingredient section. I found that most of them are different types of sugars or sweeteners. (http://www.sugar.org/sugar-basics/the-other-26-sweeteners.html). Once you identified what is what – next step would be to figure out which ones are good vs bad.

  2. What a treasure we found in Suzanne Getz. Having paettcipaird in 16 hours of her most recent training sessions wow, her work is so exciting truly a game changer for my particular bodywork. Suzanne and her Art of Cross Fiber Massage deserve a bullet list. ~ refreshing work, deeply effective yet easy on hands and finger ~ Suzanne nearly 30 (!) years as a body worker and many years as a passionate practitioner of this healing art are evident, you feel the results immediately as you receive Cross Fiber Massage in class. After my fellow classmate finished the thorough leg work as instructed by Suzanne, a thought keep flitting through my mind my legs had that delicious warm totally relaxed noodle feeling, exactly like after a long slow swim on a summers day. it was wonderfully different than any other work I have ever had. ~Very thorough instruction given with Suzanne’s warm and generous spirit. ~I will incorporate much of this work into mine, more so than any other Continuing education class that I have attended in my 20 plus years as a body worker. Thank you Suzanne. Your classes are truly money well spent. I look forward to the next eight hour training, it was fun, exciting rewarding. Laura Pietz, LMP

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