Once upon a time in stores worldwide, foods existed that could be grabbed off the shelves without a second thought about ones health and any potential life threatening ingredients, but that was once upon a time and that was a very very long time ago…nowadays, for anyone remotely interested in buying the safest and healthiest products to put into their body, the dreaded ingredient list or ‘label reading’ can become an enormous nightmare of decoding the ingredient lingo!
These days, you need multiple degrees in anything from astrophysics and genetics to a managerial role at NASA!
Fear not, I am here to decode the ‘Latin’ and guide you through ways to choose healthier products for you and your lovelies!
You’ve all heard it mentioned before (I hope!) but the grocery store is actually designed in a specific pattern! All the most natural products are on the outskirts of the shop and the longer ‘shelf life’ products on the inside! Think about it. Every single store! Fridges and fresh produce on the outside, nasty long-life products on the inside. Here is where the trouble comes! If we just stuck to the outsides of the shops, we would all be alot better off! Natural foods don’t have labels! I don’t stand reading ingredients lists on my jewel sweet potato! We don’t stick to the outskirts tho, we venture into the inner circles of the shops (they lure us in) and this is where the nastiest of the nasty products live! The sneaky ones that look so colourful and innocent but contain some of the most vile and toxic additions UNknown to most man!
So, here’s what you need to know! Here’s how to navigate that dreaded label:
The product listed first on the ingredients list is the highest quantity in the product. SO, first is most and so on until the last one which is in the lowest percentage in the product. So if you pick up a cereal and sugar is listed first then there is more sugar than cereal in there! Capish? Good. Another point to bear in mind is that companies have become wise to the fact that people are educating themselves, so they are now listing ingredients under various names. It’s not as easy as looking for sugar and salt and when its not there you can merrily skip off with your processed product under arm. Nope, sugar has over 56 different names it can be hidden under and salt can be snuck in there too under all sorts of James-bondish code names! CApish? Lets continue..
One of the most important rules of label reading, if you cannot pronounce it, put it down! PUT it down…something with a list longer than your arm of ingredients you can’t pronounce should send huge warning bells off in your head! If you don’t know what is in the product, how can you feel comfy ingesting it or even worse, feeding it to your kid!?
These are some of the most common ingredients you would find on the ingredient list. I will categorise them as CODE RED! CODE red people. DROP the product and run…flailing arms and all!
CODE ORANGE, proceed with caution this is not the best product out there, you can do better and
CODE GREEN, go forth and consume abundantly (i warn you tho, this list might be short hahah)
Get your piece of pens and a paper:
(image courtesy of healthy for food.heart)
Lets start with learning to read the label, this is the basic breakdown:
1- serving size. Recommended portion per person. Often more than is necessary but a good indication
2 – Calories per serving. 1 portion of this product = so many calories, double portion = double calories.
3- IS the nutrient breakdown in the product, ie how much fat, sodium, cholesterol etc. These are the nutrients that are meant to be consumed in moderation!
4- Nutrient breakdown of the healthy nutrients you should consume regularly ie protein, fibre and vitamins
5- Breakdown of percentage of daily values, so basically what percentage of RDA (recommended daily allowance) for each nutrient is in this product
Common nutrients, such as total fat, cholesterol, and sodium, are required fields. Other nutrients, such as potassium and Vitamin K, are optional and not required to be listed. Each package must identify the quantities of specified nutrients and food constituents for one serving. It is important to note the following:
- 1 g of fat = 9 kcal
- 1 g of protein = 4 kcal
- 1 g of carbohydrate = 4 kcal
- 1 g of alcohol = 7 kcal
Calories provide a measure of how much energy you obtain after eating a portion of food. It is always important to find out the total calories. Many consumers are surprised to find that a fat-free product is not necessarily low in calories. Similarly, a sugar-free product is not always low in Calories or low in fat. 1Cal = 4.2 kj.
That’s in a nutshell. Now onward to the more latin part of this lesson. The ingredients list.
CODE RED: (remember your protocol here, drop the product and run!)
- High fructose corn syrup (READ, poison!)
- Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) used as a flavour enhancer and oh so toxic! Found in almost all spices, prepared foods, sauces etc..disgusting! known to cause headaches, nerve damage, heart problems and seizures.
- Enriched flour, refined starch.
- Recombined bovine growth hormone (RBGH), read that again, you are ingesting animal growth hormone! Genetically modificed (GMO) version of natural growth hormone, cancer causing.
- Refined vegetable oil, soybean oil, corn oil, safflower oil, canola, peanut oil, are all high omega 6 which promote inflammation! heart disease causing in higher ratio than anti-inflammatory omega 3!
- Synthetic transfats
- ARtifical flavour
- Colourants Red # 40 hyperactivity, derived from petroleum. NICE!
- – Blue #1 bakery goods, candy and drinks. Damages chromosomes and promotes cancer cells.
- – Blue # 2 sweets, pet foods and drinks. Causes brain tumors.
- -Citrus Red # 1 Sprayed on oranges to make them look ripe. READ THAT AGAIN!
- – Ctrus Red # 2 sprayed on fruit.
- – Green # 3 sweets, drinks. known to promote kidney tumors.
- – Yellow # 5 desserts, baking and sweets that cause kidney tumors.
- – Yellow # 6 carcinogen in sausages, drinks and sweets.
- – Red # 2 causes asthma and cancer
- – Red # 3 found in ice cream, baking and can cause nerve damage and thyroid cancer.
- Caramel colour, soft drinks, sauces, pastrices and breads.
- – Brown HT, causes hyperactivity, asthma and cancer
- – Orange B, found in hotdogs and sausage casings and it attacks the liver and bile ducts
- – Bixin causes hyperactivity and asthma
- – Norbixin, same!
- Sucralose is a very common additive in protein mixes and drinks so beware all of you who love to add these into your smoothies.
- aspartame is a multi-potential carcinogen
- Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydrozyttoluene (BHT) are used to preserve common household foods.
- Propyl Gallate, preservative.
- Sodium benzoate, preservative in cooldrinks. Damages DNA
- Sodium Chloride, more commonly known as salt, is not real salt. Common table salt (sodium chloride) has almost nothing in common with traditional rock or sea salt. If a food label lists salt, or sodium chloride as an ingredient, that’s the bad stuff and you need to avoid these foods wherever possible.
- Sodium Nitrate linked to cancer in humans. Sies!
- Sodium carboxymethyl cellulose, cancer forming.
- Aluminium, a preservative, that is known to cause cancer.
- Soy protein, soy isolate, and soy oil are present in about 60 percent of the foods on the market and have been shown to Lower fertility and affect estrogen in women, lower sex drive, and trigger puberty early in children. Soy can also add to the imbalance between omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. only soy products fit for human consumption are fermented and organic.
- CORN Modified cornstarch, dextrose, maltodextrin, and corn oil should all be avoided. All are high in omega-6 fatty acids, which can promote inflammation, cancer, and heart disease. The ratio of 3:6 is out of whack! Omega 3 is anti-inflammatory. so we need far more of that! Think salmon, fish oils like krill.
- Potassium sorbate most prolific preservatives in the food industry, it is difficult to find an ice cream without potassium sorbate. However, it is not only recommended to avoid this chemical, it’s a necessity to eliminate it from our foods.
- Soybean lecithin comes from sludge left after crude soy oil goes through a “degumming” process. It is a waste product containing solvents and pesticides. The toxic hexane extraction process is what is commonly used in soybean oil manufacture today. Another big problem associated with soy lecithin comes from the origin of the soy itself. Look out for this emulsifier in ice creams, chocolate and many processed creams.
- Polysorbate 80 used as an emulsifier (used to stabilise foods). Highly carcinogenic, associated with crohn’s disease. Decreased fertility! ew
- Polysorbate 60, thickener in baked good
- Canola or rapeseed oil is poisonous to living things and is an excellent insect repellent. It is an industrial oil, not a food. It is a genetically modified plant designed through intensive breeding and genetic engineering technique
- Sulphites, found in wine and dried fruits. Can cause breathing difficulty and asthma.
- Azodicarbomide: causes asthma.
- Potassium Bromate: used to increase volume of bread, cancer causing.
- Propyl gallate, added to fat containing products and is ban in other countries because it causes severe allergic reactions and liver damage.
- Propylene glycol, Also known as ‘anti freeze’ it is used to thicken dairy and salad dressing.
- Butane, sounds like something you use to fill up a car! carcinogen used in chicken nuggets.
- Magnesium sulphate, found in tofu.
- Chlorine dioxide, used to bleach flour white, known to cause tumors and hyperactivity in children.
- Paraben, used to stop mould and yeast build up, disrupts hormone levels.
- Aluminium used as a preservative and is cancer causing.
- Saccharin, a carcinogen, run!
- Aseculfame potassium know to cause lunch and breast cancer.
- Sucralose (all ingredients ending in an ‘ose’ are sugars) causes swelling of the liver and kidneys and decreases thymus function.
- Bleached starch
- Benzoate is a preservative that deprives cells in the body of oxygen
- E numbers are codes for additives/substances that are permitted to be used as food additives. Avoid if any allergic reactions are noted.
- Green foods: Water, fibre, vitamins, minerals, unrefined, raw, honey, stevia, xylitol, herbs, himalayan sea salt, olive oil, ANYTHING that has a shelf life of a few days that looks like it does in nature! Think fruit, veggies, fish, meats, etc.
So How do you choose what to buy:
- Choose products with short ingredient lists of foods you can eat individually or cook with. The longer the ingredient list, the more processed the food!
- Dont eat anything with ingredients you can’t pronounce, or recognise!
- Stay away from products with red foods like partially hydrogenated oil and high fructose corn syrup. REfined!
- Products that are advertised as “whole grain” or “multi-grain” should have the first word in the ingredients list “whole”. To double-check the “whole grain” quality of a product, the fiber content under the Nutrition Facts should be at least three grams of fiber per serving.
- Avoid any product that has the word “artificial” in the ingredient list.
- Whenever possible, purchase products with Certified Organic logo’s
- Eat natural!
So that dear folks sums it! I have a headache brought on by the sheer volume of junk people consume. Its no wonder life expectancy has dropped to mid 40’s! if you make 70’s these days, you are blessed!
Take from this post what you will but one thing I hope you take from this is that nothing processed or prepared or refined can be trusted! Vegans and vegetarians are noting massive health benefits from going a more natural route, as are those living organically (like my family) and why? We are living with the highest percentage of our daily intake coming from foods that have no labels or ingredients list!