Don’t look at food labels, look at the ingredient list.

Food labels annoy me. Why? Because you can’t trust food labels, not 100 percent anyway. What can you trust? You can trust the ingredients’ list. I urge everyone who wants to live well and clean to read the ingredients in the products they are purchasing. Food labels should be helping us reach optimal health, but research shows it doesn’t.

Stricter food regulations and labeling has been implemented in the past few years or so, yet obesity is still prevalent. Food labels often are misleading and may contain more than what the consumer bargains for. It sounds ridiculous but reading the ingredient list is the best bet to eat cleaner.

For example, the label: no “sugar added” only means no sugar added, other sweeteners can be used and are used to make the food sweet. When I buy apple sauce I make sure it is unsweetened. No-sugar apple sauces do contain sweeteners. Did you know that there are 56 other names for sugar !

For instance,  take a look at this rice seasoning I bought from Foodlion. They were out of rice vinegar so I substituted the product for it:

Exhibit A: Sweet Cooking Rice Seasoning 

*This product is a product of Japan, but you can find it in American grocery stories. As you can see this rice seasoning doesn’t contain “sugar” but it does contain “glucose syrup” and “corn syrup”. Your average shopper may not know what these two ingredients are,* 

Dismiss the food labels whenever you can

Isn’t it shocking? When I was on my no-sugar diet, I had to cut out many of my favorite foods. Because sugar is in everything! I had to give up jarred pasta sauces, salsa, sauces, boxed rice etc. A food product might not have sugar in it, but it may have malt-dextrose or brown rice syrup (sugar) to make the product sweet.

You don’t know what is in a  food product until you look at the ingredients. For so long, we have been cautious of food labels.  We have been so attracted to low-cal, gluten-free, fat-free, and vegan labels that we think it is healthy because we have been told so. But it is not true.  The label on the front is not nearly as healthy as the ingredients on the back. When you are buying food products, Ask yourself these four questions:

  1. What is this food made out of?
  2. Are there artificial ingredients in this food?
  3. Is this product really natural or really organic?
  4. Is this a whole food?

Nutrition Facts can also misguide us

*I know that this nutrition label is a caption for ice cream, but I wanted to show you guys this: Nutrition Facts can be misleading, because the nutrition may not be as nutrient dense as shown in the nutrition label. To determine the nutrition content look at the ingredient list which I circled in gray.*

As shoppers, we now know that some ingredients added to food can cause diseases and or cancers. We also do not know what other ingredients can cause these ailments. The FDA still allows harmful ingredients in food in small amounts (Some ingredients in small amounts do not cause as much as harm as it does in large amounts).

It is easy to blame the government and the FDA for poor food labeling (they should be held accountable). But, the problem is the food industry, lobbyists, and politicians. They make it hard to have affordable, healthy, and safe food for the people. Unfortunately, we have to be savvy shoppers, because accountability will always fall on us (the consumer).

Your best bet to buy healthy food is to stick to whole foods and foods that aren’t far from their natural state: foods that are from real ingredients and sometimes few ingredients. It is also a great benefit when you cook your own food.  When you cook your own food, you can control what goes and what goes out. If you don’t know a food ingredient: Google it.

Take care,

– thefitsavvycoach

Post updated 3/4/2021 

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