Clean Eating: Reading Nutritional Labels
We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.
When reading nutritional labels you’ve probably heard the rule “don’t eat anything you can’t pronounce.” A hundred years ago this wasn’t an issue. Today, there are over 14,000 man-made chemicals, in the form of preservatives, artificial flavors, colors and sweeteners, used in nearly every food in the inner isles of the grocery stores. Unfortunately, these chemicals are what make processed foods taste so good.
Buying cheese and crackers to go with your wine shouldn’t take a scientific degree. With so many chemicals and ingredients to look for it can be difficult to read nutritional labels. But, knowing how to read a label is an important skill that can help improve your health.
With there being so many chemicals, it’s nearly impossible to know them all. Many of them have multiple names they are listed by so it can be tricky. So, I have made a list of the ones I make sure to avoid and tips for reading labels.
Reading Nutritional Labels
-The ingredients are organized by how much is in the food. The first ingredient is used the most. The food is most likely “junk” food if the first ingredient is sugar, fat or something you can’t pronounce.
-High fructose corn syrup, aspartame, and sucralose. Many are linked to cancers and obesity, and many make you crave more food.
-Not all fats are equal. While avocados, nuts, fish, etc., are high in fats, they are healthy fats. Hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils I avoid. These fats are used to preserve foods but can cause clogged arteries.
-Artificial colors. Reds and yellows have shown to lower the focus of children and cause hyperactivity. These are banned in my home. I can tell almost immediately if my daughter has dyes, she starts bouncing off the walls and has problems listening. Carmel color is linked to cancer.
-Bleached. As in bleach flour. Stick to whole wheat flour. Brown rice instead of white rice, whole-wheat bread instead of white bread, or wheat pasta instead of regular. So many nutrients are lost from the ingredients when they made.
-Long list and words I can’t pronounce. I look for a short list of ingredients. The shorter, the better. If I can’t pronounce at least 75% of the ingredients, the food goes back on the shelf.
-Research. If you come across something you have never heard of, look it up! Label reading is a learning process and as quick as things are made and names are changed by the manufacturers, you will continuously be learning.
-Look for nutrients and vitamins and avoid fats, sugars, and sodium.
I’m a visual learner, the more colors and eye-catching images, the better I retain information. I came across this infographic that has so much useful information. So I’ll just leave this right here!