Knowing what is in your foods is the first step towards good health. The best strategy is to eat a lot of fresh fruits, vegetables, and foods that don’t traditionally have labels. But now even spinach comes in a labeled package. So read labels to make better, more informed food choices.
First, glance at these areas.
Then check for foods high in nutrients. Next, make sure your are getting the right balance of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats into your diet.
Last but not least, read the ingredients on the label. If you don’t recognize what’s on the label, neither will your body. Don’t eat it!
Ingredients you should definitely avoid:
- Artificial Colorings: Blue 1, Blue 2, Green 3, and Yellow 6. Each of these are linked to cancer.
- Artificial Sweeteners: Aspartame, Sucralose, Acesulfame-K, and Saccharine. Artificial Sweeteners have been linked to cancer and also have fallen short in helping dieters lose weight.
- Monosodium Glutamate (MSG): MSG is used as a flavor enhancer. It is often used to cover the lack of healthy ingredients in the food. It has also been tied to cancer and obesity.
- Partially Hydrogenated Oil (Trans Fat): This is often found in frozen foods and bakery items. Trans fats are more harmful for your heart and blood vessels than saturated fats. It’s like lining your vessels with plastic!
- Propyl Galate: This is a preservative that is added to meat products, chicken soups, and chewing gum which have a potential of causing cancer.
- Sugar: This ingredient is also labeled as fructose, corn syrup, glucose, and high-fructose corn syrup. Sugar is found in a large array of products and has been determined the number one cause to the obesity epidemic, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and other chronic diseases.
- Sodium Nitrate: This enhances the color and flavor. It is used as a preservative for many prepared meat products leads to cancer and other diseases.
- Salt: There are large amounts included in many potato chips, soups, and crackers. Salt is used as a flavor enhancer as well as a preservative. High salt diets have been shown to be linked to high blood pressure and heart disease.
Labels to look for:
Organic food is safer and healthier for your body. It also uses methods that preserve the environment by avoiding most synthetic materials, such as pesticides and antibiotics. To get this seal farmers and processors have to:
- Preserve natural resources and biodiversity
- Support animal health and welfare
- Provide access to the outdoors so that animals can exercise their natural behaviors
- Only use approved materials
- Do not use genetically modified ingredients
- Receive annual onsite inspections
- Separate organic food from non-organic food
The Non-GMO Project is trying to preserve and build sources of non-GMO products, educate consumers, and provide verified non-GMO choices. Foods with this label have been verified as safe from the effects of genetically modified process and are better for the environment and for your health.
Now many foods come with a nutrition facts labels. These labels provide you with the information you need to know exactly what you’re eating. Understanding what’s in your food helps you to make healthier choices. Checking food labels also makes it easy for you to compare the nutrient content of different options. A good diet is crucial to your health and paying attention to nutrition labels is a good step toward improving your overall diet.