Are You Confused About How to Read Food Labels?
My next live event will be held this coming Wednesday. The topic, by request from an attendee from my November event, is how to read food labels. I thought it was a great topic as there’s so much confusion and misinformation about how to read food labels. I wish I could say the confusion created by food companies is unintentional…
The simple fact is that the front of a package is advertising. It’s marketing, and what most people don’t realize is that it doesn’t have to be specific or really be the truth. The front of the package or box can scream the buzz word of the day or the popular vitamin du jour. Its purpose is to get you to reach for that particular box or bag and put it in your shopping cart.
The takeaway from this should be if a package screams some benefit on the front, check very carefully on the back to see what’s really inside. If something is screaming a benefit on the front, I usually put it back on the shelf.
Now, when you turn over that bag or box, on the label on the back…that’s where you find the truth about what’s inside that package. But how do you interpret that label; how do you know what you’re buying when often times, you can’t even pronounce the ingredients?
The first rule is the fewer ingredients the better. Look for no more than 5 ingredients in any food product you buy. This automatically puts you in a position to buy and consume less processed food, and that’s a good thing.
Next, note the serving size. Too often the serving size will be some ridiculously small amount so that the less desirable ingredients will look more benign than they actually are. For example, if you’re looking at cereal and the serving size is one tablespoon, that’s not realistic; they’re trying to deceive you with the amount of ingredients per serving (usually sugar and fat).
Now check for sugar. It’s in just about everything in some way, shape or form. It has so many different names that you need a “sugar dictionary” to be certain you’re avoiding it.
If you deal with food allergies in your family, you’ll want to check for ingredients like corn and soy which along with being major food allergies are also among the most likely ingredients to be GMO.
This just scratches the surface of how to read a food label and what to watch out for, but it’s a good start.
Next time you’re in the grocery store, do yourself a huge favor… ignore the front of the package. Turn it over and read the label to find out what’s really inside the package you’re holding.
Helping you achieve Major Wellness in your life!
Cheryl A Major, CNWC