READING THE INGREDIENTS LIST

gmo reading the ingredients

Healthy eating can be a challenge if what you have in your kitchen isn’t healthy to begin with. When trying to make healthy changes, it all comes down to this Grocery Shopping. The best way to make your grocery shopping healthier is by reading ingredient lists, NOT the Nutritional Facts.

Although the Nutritional Facts can be a great tool for people who are trying to avoid sugar, cholesterol, sodium, etc. for certain conditions, it doesn’t really tell you much about the quality of the product. People have been led to believe that this is the most important part, especially for people who are trying to lose weight and are obsessed with the calorie counting (trust me, I’ve been there). But the thing is, eating processed foods low on calories will not help with weight loss in the long run, if your choices are full of chemicals that burden your body.

Way before doing real changes in my diet, I had tried several times to make healthy choices when grocery shopping. I would leave the supermarket with lots of products believed to be very healthy like, yogurt, skim milk, whole grain bread and granola bars. However, I never focused on nutritional labels, even less on the ingredients. So It’s pretty safe to assume that these products weren’t really as healthy as I thought they were.  Specially yogurt and Granola bars, which tend to be filled with Genetically Modified ingredients.

Shopping for healthy food can be tricky. Most packages have appealing tags in the front claiming to be “sugar free”, “low fat”, “Natural” among many others. There’s no one controlling what food companies place in their front labels to make them more appealing to consumers. You can easily find dozens, if not hundreds of products with the “all natural” label, only to realize when reading the ingredients list, that maybe one of the ingredients derived in some sort of way from a fruit.

Reading the ingredients list and making better options isn’t even about buying organic. By comparing the various options you have in your super market, you will be able to choose the best out of all, and avoid unnecessary chemicals.

So here are a couple of things you should keep in mind. The ingredients are listed in order of quantity. So, its start off by listing the ingredient there’s more of. The first two ingredients are the largest parts of what you’re eating. Lots of juices start with water, then High Fructose Corn syrup. So, putting it “nicely”, it’s mostly sugar water.

genetically-modified-ingredients-food

THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND WHEN GROCERY SHOPPING:
  • You’ve probably heard this one before, but really, eat before you shop. If you’re hungry, you’ll probably end up with bad choices. I have great self-control when it comes to grocery shopping, but once the “bad” food is home, not so much.
  • When buying Whole Grain, the ingredient list should start with “Whole”. If it doesn’t then it’s probably just a marketing lie.
  • Ingredients ending in “ose” (sucrose, fructose, dextrose, glucose) are just different forms of sugar usually derived from Genetically Modified corn, so you want to stay clear from them.
  • Partially hydrogenated oil is another term for Trans-fat, and hydrogenated oil for Saturated-Fat, which are very unsafe for artery and heart health.
  • Anything derived from corn, canola, or soy are mostly likely to be genetically modified, as about 90% of these crops are genetically engineered in the United States. Read more about GMO’s here.
  • Both natural and artificial flavors involve the same laboratory processing and additives. And there’s no regulations or laws controlling what goes into “natural flavors”.
  • Less ingredients is usually better.
  • If it has too many ingredients and you can’t pronounce them, then you shouldn’t be eating it.
  • Do I even have to say this? Yellow #5, Blue #2, Red #40… Nope, they are not good for you and they have been linked with ADHD for a long time now.

Don’t worry. It seems like a lot, but If you frequent the same supermarket and you usually buy the same stuff, after the second time you’ll already know which are the healthiest choices.

I GATHERED A COUPLE OF EXAMPLES

ingredient-list-shopping-healthy-2

These are three different peanut butter brands.

FIRST PRODUCT
  • Has 7 ingredients.
  • Hydrogenated Vegetable oil = Saturated Fat.
  • 3 genetically modified ingredients: Cottonseed, soybean and rapeseed oil.
SECOND PRODUCT
  • One ingredient: Peanuts.
THIRD PRODUCTS
  • One ingredient: Organic Peanuts.

These are three yogurt brands.

ingredient-list-shopping-healthy-3

FIRST PRODUCT
  • It has 12 ingredients.
  • Has genetically modified ingredients: Modified Food Starch.
  • Has flavoring: “Natural” Flavors.
  • Sugar is second ingredient which means it has a lot of it.
  • Has coloring: Red #40.
SECOND PRODUCT
  • Has 6 Ingredients.
  • Has a genetically modified ingredient: Corn Starch.
THIRD PRODUCT
  • One ingredient: Milk.

These are three different juice brands.

ingredient-list-shopping-healthy-6

FIRST PRODUCT
  • It has 8 ingredients.
  • Has 3 genetically modified ingredients: High Fructose Corn Syrup, Citric Acid and Ascorbic Acid.
  • Has flavoring: “Natural” flavors.
SECOND PRODUCT
  • It has 7 ingredients.
  • Has 3 genetically modified ingredients: High Fructose Corn Syrup, Citric Acid and Ascorbic Acid.
  • Has flavoring: “Natural” flavors.
THIRD PRODUCT
  • Has one ingredient: Organic Juice.

As you can see, regardless of your diet, you can always choose better by comparing your options at your supermarket. More ingredients doesn’t always mean “bad” if you can recognize the ingredients and they don’t sound like chemical compounds. Your groceries should consist more of fruits and vegetables. These are the one’s with the antioxidants, and the one’s that will keep you healthy. Identify genetically modified ingredients derived from corn and soy and the hidden names for sugar. And finally, if you can buy organic, even though it may be more expensive, remember that investing in your health is the best investment you’ll ever make.

 

Read more about organic here.

Sources here.

4 thoughts on “READING THE INGREDIENTS LIST

  1. Me encanto! Lo de lo integral se ve a diario, es muy dificil aqui tratar de conseguir algun producto 100% integral, gracias por tus consejos tratare de aplicarlos! Felicidades por tu blog, esta buenísimo!

    1. Asi es, justamente en RD fue que me di cuenta. encontraba pan “integral” y cuando lei los ingredientes me daba cuenta que solo le daban un color mas oscuro y agregaban semillas de ajonjoli o semillas parecidas para darle el “look” de integral.

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