It is SO important to learn how to read, and more importantly, decipher, food labels. They can be tricky, and while providing some good information, labels can push the limits and be misleading, especially on processed foods! For instance, sugar and sweeteners can be called by over twenty-five different names, thereby falling lower on the ingredient list, and not having to be called “sugar” on the label. So, we buy the product, thinking it’s healthy for us because, “look, it has very little sugar in it.”
Additionally, many processed foods’ ingredients read like a science experiment, and we may become frustrated, and not bother. I advocate, “if you can’t pronounce an ingredient, should you eat it?” Any product that has more than 5 ingredients might need a second look.
Many food processors have jumped onto the “health” bandwagon, and promote their products as being healthy because they contain grains or soy or oats – things Americans believe are good for them. And, they can be…but not always in the products that proclaim these health benefits.
Sometimes, food producers will gain – really, they pay huge amounts of money for – the endorsement of national associations, like the American Heart or Diabetes Associations, to approve a certain product for consumption. So, we consumers, trusting the auspice of these associations, think, “hey, this product must be good for me – it’s endorsed” and into our shopping cart it goes!
I promote organic foods, and I personally try to be gluten-free. But, organic and gluten-free processed foods can be just as unhealthy as their regular counterparts. Organic sugar is still sugar, and when gluten is removed from a product, something has to replace it – and sometimes it’s not the most health-promoting ingredient…but it is gluten-free.
What’s a savvy consumer to do??
It’s easy, really! Learn to read labels. Learn to recognize ingredients that might not be the best for your health and vitality. Learn to know what the Nutrition Facts label means, and why sometimes the actual ingredient listing is more important than the facts on the Facts label! Learn this and you’ll be able to make wiser and more healthy decisions regarding your foods!
We can help you do this! Full Circle Vitality Group offers a Corporate Wellness presentation on label reading, and we’ll even go to the grocery store with you to help you learn how to make wise choices. Give us a call!
To Your Vitality!