Shopping. Like many women, I love shopping as it can be therapeutic…well when the children are at home. Regardless, when it comes to buying food have you ever looked at the ingredients list? If you do look at the ingredients, do you understand what it says?
Usually you will find words such as: malititol, sodium benzoate, and ammonium sulfate. Like most people these words are quite foreign and succeed only in glazing over the eyes of any who dare read them. My father in law thought he was reading labels and was convinced his favorite brand of peanut butter is natural; we are talking the family drama of the year! The Free Dictionary definition of natural is: “Present in or produced by nature”. I don’t know about you, but to me that means you can go outside, find that food, pick it, and eat it as it is.
The FDA holds this stance:
”From a food science perspective it is difficult to define a food product that is ‘natural’ because the food has probably been processed and is no longer the product of the earth. That said, FDA has not developed a definition for the use of the term natural or it’s derivatives. However the agency has not objected to the use of the term if the food does not contain added color, artificial flavor, or synthetic substances.”*
This means that while peanut butter isn’t found ‘naturally’ in the ground, all you need to do is grind up a bunch of peanuts to get it. This would be ‘processed’ peanuts, but without additives (natural). When we looked at the ingredients list of my father in law’s peanut butter it showed: cane syrup (sugar), molasses (more sugar), salt, palm fruit oil, and flaxseed oil added to the peanut butter. My father in law believed he was eating natural peanut butter because the food label on the front of the container claims to be natural which the company is able to do because the ingredients they added are natural.
The lesson to be learned: do not trust marketing, you must read the ingredients list!
3. Being low-fat or sugar free does not make something healthy
4. Being organic (i.e. organic sugar or organic potato chips) does not make it good for you.
5. Avoid ingredients that:
a. end with ‘ose’ (it is a form of sugar)
b. are monosodium glutamate (MGM)
c. are hydrolized or autolyzed (highly heated, addictive excitotoxins which will mess up
your body’s receptors that let you know you are full)
d. are artificial sweeteners (aspartame, etc.)
e. are hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated (these are trans-fats)
f. is refined flour touted as “organic.” If it isn’t “sprouted, whole grain, or
stone-ground” it is refined.
g. are additives, colorings, chemicals, and preservatives.
Number two on the list is the best piece of advice because you don’t have any ingredients added to fruits or vegetable. Simply purchase your meats, veggies, and fruits; then, assemble and flavor them yourself. Convenience comes at a price when you choose pre-packaged foods and that price is chemicals and other additives that are harmful to your body. However, before you go out and load up on your fruits and veggies, be sure to reference the Dirty Dozen & Clean Fifteen list. This tells you which produce contains the most pesticidal residue and which has the least. From this you can determine which produce you need to splurge on and buy organic, and which is ok to save money on and buy conventionally. Happy shopping!
** List obtained from Maximized Living Nutrition Plans by Dr. B.J. Hardick, Kimberly Roberto, & Dr. Ben Lerner