I know it’s probably a little old fashioned…but READ. Most products, whether fresh, frozen, or canned, will have a list of ingredients. NOW, this is just the beginning, but it is that: a start to knowing what you’re putting into your body! If the first ingredient is something you can’t really pronounce, PUT THE ITEM BACK! These are just four EXAMPLES of first ingredients: a protein bar that is one of the favs of my clients this week (it seems to change on a regular basis)—Proto Whey protein blend; tuna pouch—you guessed it—TUNA; the protein brownie I just gave into as an indulgence—it is still a BROWNIE—sugar is the first ingredient; an excellent organic LIVE food bar we found—organic cashews! The first listed ingredient is (in theory) what that product has the MOST of! They are listed in order of “volume amounts contained in this product.”
Let’s go JUST to the second ingredient in each: protein bar—palm oil; tuna pouch—water; brownie—protein blend (it’s not ALL sugar and chocolate!); LIVE food bar—organic sunflower seeds. You get the idea!
Now, let’s look deeper. Three of these products have an allergy statement as well: contains milk, soy, …; manufactured on equipment that processes various egg, corn…; contains tree nuts. The fourth (tuna) has a higher nutrition statement as part of the label: contains 800 mg of Omega-3 per serving. Start thinking what you really want when you do a quick grab!
Check through the ingredients of almost any “sweet” and you will find more than one sweetener! The protein bar I mentioned above has sugar, dextrose, sucralose, and stevia…do you think maybe they’re taking advantage of America’s sweet tooth (and addiction)? There have been MANY studies proving that eating ANYTHING sweet (either sugar or other sweeteners---even those with zero calories) increases the craving for MORE SWEET!
Now look at that label for “serving size.” We all think that one pouch, one bar SHOULD be a serving! The only one of my above examples that changes that thought is the brownie: the whole thing is really 2 servings, 350 calories, but is at least 18 grams of protein (enough for one of my smaller meals). Hey! It was an indulgence!
The “LIVE” bar also has some good stuff on the front label: Omega-3 & 6, 5 g of fiber (most of us don’t get enough), ALL organic (raised or conducted without the use of drugs, hormones, or synthetic chemicals); Gluten free (excludes the protein gluten, this is found in grains such as wheat); peanut-free (again, allergies); Kosher (what is condoned by biblical law); and vegan (excludes not only meat and fish but also eggs, honey and milk products).
The next time you purchase your favorite quick meal (meal in a box from the freezer section) check the protein content (most women need close to 20 grams per meal, guys 30-35 grams), and maybe the sodium (less than 2400 mg as daily intake). Your fav may have more than half of your daily “salt” intake (a red box I just looked at had 1320 mg sodium), and less than half of the protein recommended.
So… what inspired all this NEW label mania? This time it was Nestle USA’s recent announcement they are “gearing up” to REMOVE all of the artificial colors and flavors from ALL OF THEIR CANDY BARS!! (I have often told my husband that a surgeon would be TOTALLY confused if they had to do emergency work on him…His insides would be colored from far too much black cherry K.. A…)
So, why do we even care if all that artificial stuff is there? To put it in BASIC terms “Artificial flavors and colors have been linked to hyperactivity, attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to the book UNJUNK Your Food Junk by the creators of the site NaturallySavvy.com “
MAYBE I’ll actually eat a candy bar again if they do this!
If you’re not making the food yourself, at least know what’s in it!
"Few consumers understand what exactly goes into them, although some of the preservatives are listed on the food labels (but often too small to read). And what can the body possibly do to digest them? Nothing at all. If you are fortunate, they simply pass through the intestinal tract without being digested (diarrhea); it's more likely, though, that they have constipating effects and accumulate in the gut, as seen in the grossly extended tummies of those who eat such Frankenstein foods on a regular basis."
- Andreas Moritz, Cancer Is Not A Disease - It's A Survival Mechanism
Linda Cook BS, CPT 937-369-736