Ever since the FDA started labeling packaged food in 1990, the public has been heavily-trained to read the nutrition facts.
You know the drill. Look at how much fat and calories it has, right? And bonus, take notice of all those daily percentage values for vitamins! Sweet, right? Not entirely.
The reality is that a nutrition label can be very misleading and what it won’t tell you is what you really want to know.
Let’s first look at what it WILL tell you:
- It will tell you how many calories are in that product per serving.
- It will tell you how much of those calories are from fat.
- It will tell you how much vitamin A, vitamin C, and Calcium is included.
And here’s what it WON’T tell you:
- It won’t tell you if those calories are from real food sources or “frankenfoods” (GMO foods)
- It won’t tell you the source of fat (whether it’s a nutritious and natural source or synthetic processed source)
- It won’t tell you which food sources the vitamins are coming from
Rather than spend time trying to decode and understand the confusing (and often misleading) nutrition facts, look at the INGREDIENTS LIST instead.
That my friends, is a gold mine of information that will help you very quickly know if the product is a nutritious choice.
Ingredient lists tell you WHAT is in that product. It’ll tell you how processed your food is, what’s been added to it, and if its a healthy product for you.
Now that you know which label to read, here’s what you should you look for.
- Choose foods that have the least amount of ingredients.
- Less ingredients typically means less processed (five or less is a good rule of thumb).
- Watch out for these ingredients (try to avoid whenever possible):
- MSG (monosodium glutamate)
- added sugars
- artificial colors, flavors and preservatives
- GMO ingredients (non-organic: soy, corn, canola oil, etc)
- If you don’t know what an ingredient is, pass on that purchase.
- If you don’t recognize an ingredient, can’t easily picture it in nature, or imagine your great grandma cooking with it, it’s probably not what you want to eat.
Can’t find a nutritious source for what you’re wanting to buy? Want to try making it from scratch, but don’t have a recipe? Mention it in the comments, and I’ll try to find an easy, whole, food recipe for you!