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Why You Should Read Food Labels

Oh I do get cross!!

I noticed a post in a Facebook group this week.  Someone with good intention had recommended that a particular brand of vanilla protein powder was used in my ‘Cashew Vanilla Nut Butter’ in place of natural, organic vanilla powder.

I checked out the ingredients and felt so cross!

So many products today contain dubious ingredients. I felt compelled to share this information with you because I read labels every time I shop.

None of us is perfect. We all step out of the zone occasionally. If you’re going to use something regularly though, it’s wise to read the label and choose carefully.

Why You Should Always Read Food Labels

FLORAL-SUMMER-TREE-WITH-GLASS-HANGING-JARSSo .. What was in this ‘healthy protein powder?’ I’ll highlight just a few.

Ingredients:

Soy protein isolate (non-GMO), fructose, maltoxtrin, fenugreek, di-calcium phosphate, potassium chloride, (a concentrate base of veg was listed), canola oil, di-methionine, vanilla flavour, magnesium oxide, lecithin, silica gel, (some vitamins were listed) chromium amino acid chelate, pantothenic acid (as calcium pantothenate), thiamine hydrochloride (vitamin B1), riboflavin, potassium iodide, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), and cyanocobalamin (vitamin B12).

Let’s break that down:

* Fructose (sugars)
* Maltoxtrin (this is most likely another way of saying Maltodextrin – another sugar – there are 100’s of alternative words for sugar and they’re there to confuse us!)
* Di-Calcium Phospate http://www.livestrong.com/article/147763-negative-effects-of-dicalcium-phosphate/
* Canola oil (see further down in this article)
*Lecithin .. likely to be soy lecithin or it would probably be labelled as ‘sunflower lecithin.’ This is what health professional Chris Kresser has to say about Soy lecithin. http://chriskresser.com/harmful-or-harmless-soy-lecithin
*Vanilla Flavour (this will be a chemically produced ingredient that isn’t real vanilla at all)

Sugar in Labels

Looking at the ingredients again you will note that fructose and maltoxtrin are the 2nd and 3rd ingredients on that product. This means they, along with the soy protein isolate, are the largest components of that product. ie This product is composed largely of sugar.

After I wrote to the friend who was advised to use this product in her nut butter she shared with me that since reading my feedback, she’d calculated hat the product is 30% sugar and that explained why she suffers from ‘the shakes’ an hour after she uses it in her breakfast drink.

Surprise surprise. Not.

So many manufacturers just pile sugars into product as fillers and sweeteners. Sugar is addictive! And it gives us unnatural spikes and falls in energy, apart from having many other knock on effects in our bodies. 

Another Label Tip

I stopped buying food with the words ‘flavouring’ ‘natural flavouring’ ‘additives’ a long time ago because they infer that chemicals have been added to the product … and how would you or I ever know which chemicals are used to make that flavour?!

Why would we ever use a product with so many questionable ingredients over and above a natural product such as a simple, plain vanilla powder, produced without chemicals and nothing else to adulterate it but the produce of the vanilla pod itself?

Canola Oil

This article explains more and includes a video about production practices:

http://authoritynutrition.com/canola-oil-good-or-bad/

The ingredients state clearly that the Soy protein is non-GMO. They don’t say the same for the Canola. If it’s non-GMO too, surely they would have added that on the label?

For more about culinary use of oils, look out for next Monday’s post.

Summary

Am I extreme? I don’t think so.

I’ve had health issues and find it fascinating (and frustrating, in equal measure!) to read labels.

If you’re interested in this article, follow Vani Deva Hari:

www.thefoodbabe.com/

She’s a well known activist in the U.S. Many have had to listen and change their practices. It’s worth keeping an eye on what the food industry is really offering you.

Bottom Line

The safest way to eat is to make meals and snacks from scratch yourself when you can – organic where possible – and always buy packaged food from good sources (trusted, local, independent health shops or trusted online suppliers) .. and even then, check the ingredients and be sure you understand them and know them to be healthy.

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If you don’t run with label checking, what’s the point of making effort to be healthy in general?

The Positives!

  • It’s SO easy to buy heathily once you start to read labels.
  • It becomes habit.
  • Your cupboard stock will change and new suppliers will take the place of old ones.
  • It’s so worth the initial effort.
  • After research for new suppliers, shopping will be easy again and your cupboards will be stocked with only good stuff!

Rant over!! 😉

See you soon, with more good stuff!

KISSES - CBemail-signature1

About the Author Sarah Jackson

I love to experiment with food, write, read, walk by the river, watch vintage TV dramas, good documentaries and comedy.

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2 comments
Gilly Maddison says

I get so angry about the absolute shite that is in ‘food’. It really is diabolical local that big business interests come before good health. I have been a ‘fussy’ eater for over 25 years now and am used to people looking at me sideways as if I am some kind of freak because I want to be healthy! Too many people are still being seduced by packaging that has been designed to make people think the contents must be healthy and ‘natural’ ( whatever THAT means!). This is great advice you have given here – I hope people take careful note of it because we are all responsible for keeping our bodies as healthy as we possibly can and that means not stuffing it full of crap it that degrades health.

Reply
    Sarah Jackson says

    Thanks so much Gilly. It’s total habit for me now to look at the ingredients on the label before taking note of any packaging.

    As you rightly say, so much is designed to seduce. A powerful distraction from the truth.

    What gets me most is when labels say NO this * No that * No this. I always say: “Let’s check what it DOES” have! Many products that boast big claims on the front of packaging are simply distracting from ingredients in tiny writing elsewhere that have no worth or are simply bad for us.

    Reply
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