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Food Labels 101

Posted on April 18, 2020 | No Comments on Food Labels 101

Label Lesson #2: Learn how to read an ingredients list

Ingredients are listed according to the amount that goes into the product, beginning with the most abundant ingredient. If you buy a sweetened beverage labeled “juice” but see that the first ingredient listed is High Fructose Corn Syrup, then you’ve actually just purchased sugary, colored water with very little (if any) real fruit juice.

Generally, if you can’t pronounce an ingredient, don’t put it in your mouth. Granted, some vitamins are difficult to pronounce, it’s still better to forego the vitamins (which are mostly synthetic anyway) rather than take the chance of ingesting possibly harmful substances.

Reading labels is like dating. The front of the label is analogous to a first date. The good things are highlighted, and the bad things are omitted. If the exterior, superficial layer looks good, you’ll choose it over all other brands on the shelf, and give it a chance. The back of the label (particularly the ingredients list) is analogous to the second, third, or fourth date, during which you’ll discover what’s really on the inside. You may find out some bad things on the inside that outweighs the good things you ini-tially saw. It’s just as important to get to know your food as it is to know your partner. An orange soda bottle that reads “With B-Vitamins” on the front may make you take a second look, but would you proceed to throw it into your cart if you saw that it contained Neotame, the newest (and more dangerous) artificial sweetener on the block? Furthermore, would you feed it to your child?

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