What are you eating.

 

Eating mostly unprocessed food is the absolute ideal, but when modern life gets in the way and we have to grab something convenient, it is very important to be reading labels and knowing what to look for.

Let’s start with the ingredients.

The ingredients are listed in descending order of the amount found in the food. So, for example, if you see sugar in the first few ingredients you know there is a fair amount of it and you should probably put it back on the shelf! Choose the product that has the smallest amount of ingredients, the minimum number of electronic numbers and many ingredients that can recognize or pronounce (except quinoa, must eat quinoa)

Certain catch phrases can be very misleading when it comes to labeling foods. “No sugar” or “no added sugar” can be misleading. It usually means that the food is free from sucrose, but other types of sugar such as fructose, high fructose corn syrup, malt extract may still be present. These can still have the same negative impact on your blood sugar levels so be sure to check the label! Sarah Wilson of I Quit Sugar suggests that you divide the sugar content by 100 g by 4 to determine how many teaspoons of sugar are to be served. For example, if your yogurt contains 16g of sugar per 100g, you are consuming 4 teaspoons of sugar with each serving! Look for less than 6g per 100g.

There is often the perception that “gluten-free” or “low-fat” equals healthy. Often in processed foods, when something is removed, something more like sugar replaces it with flavor.

Light or “lite” can refer to light in the color, taste, texture, taste or fat content of foods. It does not necessarily mean that it is a healthy or low fat option.

National Heart Foundation Tick. This smart marketing tool was developed by the National Heart Foundation, the “Pick the Tick” campaign is well recognized as a guide for choosing products backed by the foundation of the heart. The campaign is voluntary and companies pay money to show the brand in their packaging. To be approved to carry the tick the products must meet strict criteria for the contents of fat, salt, sugar and fiber, but not necessarily its ingredients. Although it may carry some merit in some cases, it does not necessarily mean that it is the best option because it can still contain many additives and e numbers, lack of fiber and essential nutrients or be highly processed.

In a nutshell, look for real, whole ingredients like what you would find in home-made foods, like Grandma used to make! And do not be tempted to count calories, nutrient density is much more important.

Some tips for buying food.

Additive Alert, originally a Julie Eady book and now a convenient application, is an excellent little guide to have while shopping to determine all the complicated e-numbers and their potential health risks. Plan your meals during the week before you shop so you know exactly what ingredients you need, minimizing waste and avoiding all those annoying little intermediate stores. A great rule of thumb is to “buy the perimeter,” which means buying mainly the fruit and vegetable section and avoiding the corridors of processed and packaged foods.

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