THE ABSOLUTE NECESSITY OF
READING FOOD LABELS
When it comes to keys to good nutrition and tips to eating healthy, what could be more important than always reading food labels before you buy something to eat?!
This is one of those life-long wise habits that you should be practicing every day without even thinking about it.
Good nutrition and healthy eating begin with carefully reading the LIST OF INGREDIENTS on all the food items you're considering purchasing.
A short lesson on reading the list of ingredients for food:
A. The list of ingredients is in order of the largest ingredients to the smallest. In other words, the first ingredient is the biggest ingredient in the product.
B. The most important ingredients in the list are the first three or four ingredients which make up the bulk of the product.
C. Food manufacturers can often be quite deceptive in the way they list their ingredients. For example, if the biggest ingredient is sugar, they will often break it into different kinds of sugar in smaller amounts so that sugar doesn't end up being the number one ingredient on the label. They might use Aspartame, maltodextrin, sucrulose, high-fructose corn syrup, etc. to hide the fact that the biggest ingredient is sugar, so beware of this deceptive trick.
D. Food manufacturers often disguise unhealthy and often dangerous ingredients like mono-sodium glutamate (MSG) under more innocent sounding titles such as hydrolized yeast, natural flavors, etc. Do a google search on "The dangers of MSG" for a more complete list of deceptive titles for MSG.
I encourage you to check out one of my earlier postings, September 11, 2007, entitled: "8 Deceptions of Food Manufacturers' Ingredients Lists..."
When you're reading food labels, you need to look for the good, the bad, and the ugly! You need to train yourself to notice the good quality ingredients, while at the same time to be able to sniff out the bad, dangerous, and toxic ingredients to avoid. Here's a little help for you regarding reading food ingredients lists.
BAD, UNHEALTHY, AND TOXIC INGREDIENTS TO WATCH OUT FOR AND AVOID
1. Avoid all products with dangerous and toxic sweeteners that include the following: High-fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, Aspartame, Splenda, Sucrulose, white refined sugar, brown sugar, sucrose, fructose, saacharin, Sweet 'N Low, dextrose, maltodextrin, NatraTaste, etc. These artificial man-made sweeteners have all been proven to be dangerous to your health, toxic to your body, and cause all kinds of health problems. Avoid them at all costs. Beware, they are hiding in most food products, but especially in soda, fruit juice, ice cream, desserts, pastries, cookies, candy, cakes, gum, etc.
2. Avoid all products with hydrogenated and partially-hydrogenated oils, also known as "trans fats." These are put in most foods to make them taste richer and smoother to your tongue. These are unnatural, man-made, highly processed oils that are extremely unhealthy and detrimental to your health. Avoid all products with them. Also, avoid all products made with cottonseed oil, palm oil, soybean oil, and Canola oil (which is a genetically modified oil). These are the worst oils for your body. Also avoid all margarine products, Crisco, Olestra, and Olean; these are extremely toxic and destructive to your health.
3. Avoid all products with mono-sodium glutamate (MSG), soy sauce, and teriyaki sauce. This is an excito-toxin that actually kills brain cells by overstimulating them. This toxic ingredients is added to all kinds of foods in the supermarket and in restaurants to make food taste better and to make you fat. When something has MSG added to it, it over-excites your taste buds, making you think that the food is very delicious. The end result is that you keep eating more and more of that food, you eventually start getting fat, and you become addicted to the MSG in that food. This happened to me with "Chinese Orange Chicken" at a popular fast food restaurant; I became addicted to it and gained a lot of weight. You'll also notice that most potato chips and other salty snacks are spiked with MSG to make them taste so good. You may not know this, but soy sauce and teriyaki sauce have naturally occurRing MSG in them, so you will want to avoid products with these ingredients as well.
4. Avoid all products with white processed flour (aka, enriched wheat flour), white processed rice, pasteurized and homogenized milk and dairy products, artificial colors and flavors (which are nothing more than toxic chemicals), and anything labeled "fat free" or "sugar free" or "low carbs" or "net carbs" or "diet."
5. Avoid all products that are labeled as having shellfish scavengers such as shrimp, crab, lobster, clams, scallops, oysters, etc. and avoid all "farm-raised" fish products. All of these are unhealthy and have toxic chemicals in them.
6. Finally, avoid all pork and pork products, as well as all luncheon deli meats which are loaded sodium nitrates. Pork products are among the very worst that you can ever eat because they are so loaded with toxic substances that harm your body.
A SAD SKIPPY EXAMPLE
Here's an example of a food that appears healthy, but when you read the ingredients list, you find that it is very unhealthy. "Skippy Creamy Peanut Butter - Ingredients: roasted peanuts, sugar, hydrogenated vegetable oils (cottonseed, soybean and rapeseed) to prevent separation, salt." The whole food peanuts are healthy, but everything else added is not healthy at all and should be avoided. Instead, look for all natural peanut butter made with just peanuts and sea salt.
In my next posting, I'll share what the "GOOD FOOD INGREDIENTS" are that you should be looking for when you are reading food labels. It's not enough to just avoid the bad and ugly stuff; you also need to be looking for the good and healthy ingredients that will truly feed your body and provide it with the good nutrition it needs. Until then...