Don’t Sweat It – Label Reading 101

July 22, 2014


Let’s be honest…days are long and there is lots of work to do. We can’t be late for presentations or show preparations. We carry food that we eat in a rush and there is really no choice. Sometimes its filling, sometimes it is not. Sometimes is chocolate bars, sometimes crackers, sometimes its bread. At times there is that lucky week in which food is pre-prepared at home, or you would pop some popcorn in the office microwave. But do we know whats in that label? What’s in that popcorn? How about those cookies? Fact is most of the packaged foods we eat whether they’re candies, cereal or tomato sauce could be detrimental to our health. But how bad can it be? Yes the obvious for many is weight gain. What we may not always be aware of is that the list of issues is longer than that. Anywhere between random headaches, digestive problems, hormonal issues, and even cancer. Yes many of the foods you might be consuming can cause cancer. Before we start dissecting labels, know that if your cereal, cookies, or any other product you have in your kitchen or snacking pantry has more than 10 ingredients then its not worth the try. Also watch out for hard to pronounce ingredients. When in doubt don’t eat it.

Here are 9 popular ingredients you may want to stop avoid like the plague:

  1. Artificial sweeteners: such as Splenda, Sucralose, Aspartame, Nutrasweet, Truvia, Sweet ’n Low. Chances are all these are still offered at your local coffee shop or they are in those, diet sodas, and “sugar free” cookies. Want a better sweetener option? Look for coconut sugar, maple syrup, or honey.
  1. Artificial colorings: Would you ever eat play-doh, or chew on a Crayola? If your answer is no, then perhaps reading the words yellow #40, red #12 and so on are probably a no no also. Know that when coloring and numbers are found in your food it translates to synthetic ingredients which can cause, skin rashes, nausea and other unwanted side effects.
  2. Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) and Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT): If you are like me, chances are you are feeling a bit tongue tied at the thought of pronouncing these ingredients. The bottom line with these ingredients is that they are used to prevent oils from becoming rancid. These ingredients have been found to cause cancer in rats and hamsters.

4.  Brominated vegetable oil (BVO): It has been banned in 100 countries, yet still used in some others. It is hard for the body to digest and it stores in fat accumulation. It is used to keep flavor ed oils in food.

5. Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO): Lots of American crops and even animals have been genetically modified in order to make them stronger. Their DNA has been built for resistance, which we are still in doubt on how it will affect us later. GMO crops contaminate the environment and have proven to cause reproductive disorders, digestive disorders and autism. They are found in soy, corn crops and canola mostly. Organic is the only way to go.

6. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG): Found in canned, frozen entrees and fast foods.

7. Olestra (olean): Found is potato chips. This is a synthetic fat. Side effects of using it can be diarrhea, cramps, and stomach problems.

8. Partially hydrogenated oils: Oils that have been mixed with hydrogen turn into trans fats. While these oils preserve the food, they are associated with vascular problems, cancers and high cholesterol.

9. Sodium Nitrate: Used in red meats to preserve color and flavor. The chemical make-up of this product causes cancer in the stomach, other use effects are headaches, vomiting, nausea and dizziness.

I hope this information has been useful and can help you shop for food that heals you and keeps you vibrant. Keep this list around for future purchases.

Blogger Credit

Maria TotalBodyFitMaria Andrade is a New York based Certified Holistic Health Counsellor. She graduated from The Institute of Integrative Nutrition and has been building her wellness coaching practice as well as integrating Pilates and other body healing technique. Maria’s personal nutritional philosophy is based on the concept of bio-individuality. Nutrition should be tackled according to the unique characteristics of the individual, such as ethnicity, blood type, and activity levels. She also bases her healing practice on numerous dietary theories.

Maria co-founded TotalBodyFit in 2008, in the hopes of bringing her message to a larger audience by conducting the health counselling, fitness classes, and massage therapy right in the client’s home, office or resident lounge. She leads TotalBodyFit’s nutrition workshops, corporate, and cooking events. She is available for one on one nutritional counselling.                                        

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