When it comes to going grocery shopping it can be confusing af. Especially for those who have dietary allergies, on a protocol, or simply want a healthier life. In America, a majority of the items in the grocery are processed. All those inner aisle are full of preservatives, additives, added sugar, and let’s just say sh*t. Here’s where reading the ingredient label can be just as important as the nutrition label.
Similar to you, I used to read the side/back label to figure out how much fat or carbohydrates it had in it. This lead to buying “low fat” or “low sugar/sugar free” foods. By reading the ingredient label, I would have seen those items were worse for me than the “full fat” ones. You will find the truth in the ingredient label.
Don’t get me wrong, the nutrition label has vital information. Recently, under “sugar”, companies are putting how much sugar has been added, which is huge! Sugar is the main culprit to many of the chronic and terminal illnesses. However, naturally sweetened foods such as the Cacao Pecan Bites or Cinnamon Cashew Pancakes can be just as delicious.
Here are three major reasons to begin reading the ingredient label the next time you go to the grocery store:
#1: Look at the Order of the Ingredients!
Before we do this go on and grab something that has a nutrition label! Do you have your product of choice? Perfect, now look at the ingredients. What you will notice is the ingredients listed first are what the product is mainly made out of. For example, I looked at the ingredients of Nutella (I went through a hard Nutella phase) and the first two ingredients are sugar and palm oil…Excuse me? On all your commercials, it talks all about those hazelnuts yet it i sugar and inflammatory oil. If your item claims it is “healthy” and it has sugar as the first ingredient it isn’t healthy!
#2: Watch out for the Ingredients that are 2% or less!
You may think 2% isn’t a lot, but this is where companies can sneak in all those preservative, chemicals, and flavorings. For example, “natural flavors” is an umbrella term. It includes flavorings that have come from natural sources, however, it also includes all chemicals, preservatives, and additives. The FDA nor the companies have to disclose what are in natural flavors.
#3: Look at How Long the Ingredient List is!
Let’s be honest, some products have an essay for their ingredient list. When going to the grocery store, I try to aim for minimal ingredients. A great example are Larabars (not sponsored) as the bars are under 10 ingredients each. However, take for example Perfect Bar (again not sponsored) has a long list, but it is due to the superfood blend they include in the bars. The same is not true for other items like cereals or protein bars.
#4: Make Sure You Know the Ingredients!
People often say “if you cannot pronounce it don’t eat it”, which I agree with it, but what if you struggle to read? It may sound silly, but a lot of people struggle with reading impairments. Therefore, it is important to know exactly what the ingredients are. Referring back to Perfect Bar I know exactly what is in the superfood blend. However, there are other bars that are full of words like soy lecithin or Trisodium Phosphate. Therefore, if you don’t know what an ingredient is don’t eat it!
I truly hope these tips help you feel more confident about what you are buying at the store. Unfortunately, items with “cleaner” ingredients can be more expensive! I will be doing a blog in the near future about have to have that money when grocery shopping.