How To Read the Ingredients on Pantry Food Labels
Harmful ingredients come in many different disguises. Make sure your food supports you and your family! Here's how to read the ingredients list.
Harmful food ingredients come in many different disguises. Knowing how to read the ingredients list can keep you safe from some of the most harmful additives.
Here’s what to look for on food labels.
Intro: Why would the government approve of adding toxins to food? Well, they do help to preserve freshness, maintain certain nutritional values, and improve the appearance of food. However, that doesn’t mean you and your family need to eat unhealthy junk! Luckily, the law requires manufacturers to list all the ingredients used in their products. Make smarter shopping choices with our tips on how to read the ingredients list!
What to look for on a food label
When comparing one brand to another, look for the label with the least ingredients on it.
For example, if you’re buying almond milk, look for one that only contains almonds and water. If the list runs on with “cane sugar, gellan gum, sunflower lecithin, locust bean gum, ascorbic acid, natural flavor…” — put it back on the shelf.
You should look for real food to nourish your body, not unnecessary chemicals that strip your body of its precious nutrients.
What to avoid on food labels
Additives wreak havoc by causing inflammation, skin irritation, digestive tract issues, and more. But eating clean won’t always be easy. If you want to indulge a craving or simply can’t find a better product, here’s a list of some things you should always avoid:
- High fructose corn syrup
- Artificial and natural flavors (they’re basically the same)
- Artificial colors
- Added sugars
- Trans fats
- Hydrogenated oils
- Thickeners (like carrageenan, guar gum, xanthan gum)
- Sodium benzoate and potassium benzoate
- Sodium nitrites and sodium nitrates
- BHA and BHT
- Tricalcium phosphate (commonly found in cereals)
- Ascorbic acid
- Aluminum chloride
- Potassium bromate
It sounds like a lot, but after some practice, you’ll become familiar with which brands are safe and which brands you should avoid.
As a smart shopper, you should always read the ingredients list with the guidelines above as a reference point. Feel confident that your jar of pickles contains only pickles! Rather than buying unhealthy junk, you’ll feed yourself and your family food that supports you everyday.