Remember, your intentions and the store’s goals are not necessarily aligned! Make no mistake that food is big business and the motives of the people in the food industry are very much different from the motive of you as a consumer! Be able to distinguish real food with real ingredients from fake food with ingredients that do more harm than good for your body.
Deciphering the code: Understanding food labels
When buying a canned food always check the sodium content, sometimes sodium is increased in food to serve as a preservative. Look for low sodium versions; rinse the food before eating to eliminate the sodium.
Serving size: the food industry uses the serving size to trick you! This is because the entire rest of the label, sugar, sodium, fat and such are based on that serving size. So always check to see what the ingredient is based
Ingredients: the ingredient with the greatest amount is always stated as the first one and then each subsequent ingredient appears in progressively smaller quantities.
FDA has allowed the food industry to label their food “ trans fat-free” or “sugar-free” if it has less than 0.5 grams per serving. However a serving size a cookie can be 1/8th of a cookie! However, if you look closely at the small font ingredient list you can see exactly what you are eating.
Look for partially-hydrogenated or hydrogenated fats, which mean trans fat- one of the worse things you can put in your mouth- even if it says 0 trans fat! Again the food industry tricks us with their labeling!
If the ingredient list is more than few sentences, the food you are getting is not a real food!
Look at the amount and type of sugar present in the food.
Percentages of daily value: this tells you how much nutrient is in the food you are having. For example: 5% or less of daily value means the food is LOW in that ingredient, 20% or more of daily value means the food is high in that ingredient, between 5-20% of daily value means the food is a moderate source of that ingredient. This is a quick way to gauge whether the particular food is high or low in sodium.
Label claims – do not believe them! These labels include “all natural”, “all organic “ ** unless it has a USDA
label** the food is not organic! Another example is cereals with the label of healthy heart from American heart association, however, if you look at the ingredient the cereal has high fructose corn syrup and trans-fat. “Sugar-free” may also mean fake sugar- aspartame – when it comes to sweaters use the following
- Maple sugar
- Raw honey: the darker the better- darker means more anti-oxidant and phytonutrient
- Date Paste
- Coconut palm sugar
- Sucanat: whole cane sugar
- Muscovado: unrefined brown sugar
- Date sugar
If you see any of the following additives in the list of the ingredients printed on those packaged foods, do not buy them and if you have them at home throw them away!
1) High fructose corn syrup (HFCS): This ingredient is associated with increased belly fat, inflammation, blood sugar, blood pressure, and diabetes.
2) Trans fats/ hydrogenated fat/ partially hydrogenated fat- this fat as no known benefits and only harm!
3) Artificial food dyes: these dyes have been highly associated with neurological conditions such as ADHD, anxiety, migraines, and even cancer.
4) Sodium benzoate: This is a potential carcinogen, promotes hyperactivity and anxiety. This additive is commonly found in soft drinks, fruit juices, and salad dressing.
5) Potassium bromate: possible carcinogen and has been banned in Canada, Europe, China, Iran and other countries. Still legal in the USA! This is found in baked goods and bread.
6) Butylated hydroxyanisole ( BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene ( BHT): The FDA permits consumption of both in small amounts, these products are a possible carcinogen, and cause high toxicity in the human body. These are found in chips, chewing gum, some cereals, and candy.
7) Propyl gallate: approved by FDA as a preservative, however, it has been shown as a carcinogen and it is banned in other counties. This additive is found in meat and chewing gum.
8) Monosodium glutamate ( MSG): causes concerns such as headaches to fatigue and heart palpitations. This product is used in soups, salad dressing, chips, and frozen entrees.
9) Artificial sweeteners: aspartame, sucralose, acesulfame potassium (acesulfame-K). Artificial sweeteners make your insulin receptors insensitive and have shown to contribute to weight gain. They also cause greater addiction to sweet cravings, the artificial sweeteners are found in baked goods, chewing gums, diet beverages, and packaged desserts.
10) Carrageenan: although it is found in food that are considered healthy such as almond milk, studies have shown this additive can cause increase in inflammatory molecules in our gut, and can lead to heart disease, Alzheimer,
and Parkinson’s disease.
11) Sodium nitrate/sodium nitrite: studies have shown this additive can be a possible carcinogen. This additive is found in red meat, processed bacon, hotdogs, and smoked fish.