Do you read ingredients labels? Do you even pay attention to them?
When it comes to the food that we eat – are the ingredients even important?
Many years ago when I worked for a multi-level marketing nutrition company (please don’t hold this against me – we live and learn!), one of my mentors said that he never reads ingredients labels. In fact, he used to put those who did into a basket of sorts, calling them “label readers”.
Now I don’t like it when people slander others using labels at the best of times, but as a newbie learning about nutrition, I figured I should just trust what he was saying and deem it to be true.
However, as time marched on, it didn’t sit right. It left me with a bit of a niggling feeling that ignoring the ingredients was not a good approach to take.
That being said, if you’ve ever taken the time to read a nutrition label, you will know it can be like a minefield. Lots of numbers and hard to pronounce words you may never have even heard of.
Shouldn’t that be an alarm bell in itself?
If we don’t know what’s in something or we can’t even pronounce it – shouldn’t that trigger us to investigate further?
As a nutritionist-in-training, today’s post is going to be a bit of a crash course on Food Labelling, and why it’s so incredibly important to read those food labels – or better still, purchase food which doesn’t even come with a label!
To help clarify my point, I’m going to lead in with a little story.
The other day, my gorgeous hubby offered to do the grocery shopping for me as I was knee deep in assignments, studying for exams etc. My response was – “whoop, whoop – yes please! That would be wonderful sweetheart – thank you so much”.
Now on the grocery list was Maple Syrup. That wonderfully sweet syrup which is made from the sap of a maple tree usually sourced from Canada.
When my hubby returned from his grocery shop expedition, feeling quite chuffed that he’d managed to find every single item on the list (bless his little cotton socks!), I couldn’t help but disguise the look of horror on my face at one particular purchase.
You guessed it – the Maple Syrup.
As you can see from the photo above – specimen A (on the right) under ingredients says – ‘Pure Canadian Maple Syrup’, as opposed to specimen B (on the left) has 5 lines of ingredients – and not one of them is actually ‘maple syrup’.
But what’s worse, is that some of these so called “ingredients” can have detrimental impacts on our health.
So let’s list them here:
- natural flavours (hmmm … I wonder what these are?!)
- vegetable gum (466)
- acidity regulator (330)
- colour (150d)
- preservatives (202, 211)