Trying to make sense of food labels can be kind of a daunting task. Especially when you don’t really know or understand what exactly you’re looking at. From Meat to dairy, produce to pasta, labels are everywhere and on everything! But what do they all mean?
When you are at the grocery store, I am sure that you have noticed that several products have key words on the front of their packaging such as Organic, Fresh, All-Natural, Gluten Free, Made With etc. At first, I thought that this was great! Until I found out that these claims should not all be taken at face value. As I started researching more and more into this matter, I kept getting more and more disappointed and upset. Turns out, that by law, food manufacturers must be truthful with nutritional facts as well as the list of ingredients on the back of the product however, they can pick and choose what they would like to highlight or spin on the front! Like you have got to be joking!!! Talk about a whole new low… These claims are simply there to draw your attention and mislead you into thinking that a product is healthier than it really is.
I don’t believe that ALL companies do this however, I would suggest that you look past the fancy claims and read the approved label before purchasing a product. Yes, the advertisements might be true but it may not be telling the whole story. You may be surprised with what you find. And besides, you should want to know what you are putting in your body. Like the saying goes: “Those who think they have no time for healthy eating, will sooner or later have to find time for illness”
Reading a food label is not rocket science! Simply look at the serving size and compare it to the amount that you actually eat. Then look at the daily value percentages. A 5% DV or less is a little and 15% DV or more is a lot. Lastly, make better choices by choosing a product that has less of fat, sodium, saturated fat and trans fat and more of fiber, vitamin A, calcium and Iron. Trust me, you will be golden!
Take a stand against major food companies and make your own decisions as to what is healthy and what is not. Don’t let them decide for us!
Here are some easy rules from the book “Food Rules” by Michael Poland that are good to abide by when visiting the grocery store:
- Don’t buy anything that your great grand-mother would not recognize as food
- Avoid products that contain high-fructose corn syrup
- Avoid food products that have some form of sugar (or sweetener listed among) the top three ingredients
- Avoid food products that have more than 5 ingredients
- Avoid food products containing ingredients that a third‐grader cannot pronounce
- Avoid food products that make health claims
- Avoid food products that say: “light” or the contain the terms “low fat” or “nonfat” in their names
- Avoid foods you see advertised on television
- Shop the peripheries of the supermarket and stay out of the middle
- Buy only foods that will eventually rot
- Buy colours (fresh produce)
- Buy animals that have themselves eaten well
- Don’t buy breakfast cereals that change the colour of the milk
- The whiter the bread, the sooner you will be dead
- Eat all the junk food you want, as long as you cook it yourself