Put on Your Detective Cap!
You can solve the mystery! Do you ever stop to look at the ingredients on the labels of the food you consume? Maybe you read them, but are not really sure what all of it really means. Free-range, organic, natural, grass-fed, hormone-free, non-GMO…and on and on the list goes. With all of the many labels and meanings, it can be really confusing to deconstruct the food labels and understand what these claims really mean.
It is about educating yourself and becoming aware of where your food comes from and how it is produced. These things matter and it is imperative to care about these things if you want to lose weight, sleep better, have increased energy, and simply feel better overall.
Be curious about what you choose to put in your body, as it effects your mental clarity and your overall wellbeing. Be the food label detective. When looking at a label, the things I focus on the most are:
- Can I pronounce and understand what these ingredients are? (aka is it a chemical, which means highly-processed)
- How much Saturated Fat and Trans Fat? (these are the unhealthy fats)
- How much Sugar? (and is it an artificial sweetener or high fructose corn syrup)
- How much Sodium?
- Serving Size and Servings Per Container
Now, it may take a few extra minutes at the grocery store to read the ingredient label, but those minutes can save your life, so in my book, it’s worth it.
Many products are heavily processed, and although they may be “convenience” foods, they come at a potentially dangerous price. Various food additives and chemicals that try to preserve the shelf life of the food have shown major side effects ranging from nausea and headaches to more serious conditions like cancer and Alzheimer’s.
The list below* is of some of the most pervasive and detrimental additives commonly found in processed foods.
- Artificial sweeteners
- Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
- Artificial Colors
- Partially Hydrogenated Oils
- Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)
- Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) and Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT)
Bottom line, look for minimally processed and whole foods. Think: fruits and vegetables — no label needed!
You are now deemed Captain Detective (is that a thing???) of food labels. Congratulations! Are you up for this role? Hit reply and let me know!
*Adapted from Integrative Nutrition, Inc. If you are interested in reading the full list of controversial ingredients, including uses and side effects, then please e-mail me and I will send the document to you.