Don’t Stop at Calories and Macros: How to Read Food Labels

It’s not easy to read food labels, unless you know what to avoid…

Don’t tell me when you see a new and promising “healthy” product on the grocery store shelf, that you don’t flip it over and immediately scan the calories, fat, carbohydrate and the protein content … Right?!

We have been trained to look for this stuff. You ask why?? Well, let me enlighten you!

The Big Food Companies want you to care about that because it’s VERY easy to market “Low Fat,” “High Protein,” “Low Calorie” and now “Low Carb.”

We are made to believe THAT’S what’s important! But let me go against these guys (again) and tell you that it’s what’s under the ingredient list that is way more important.

Here are a few examples why:

You find some yogurt to have in the morning (to replace that cereal) and look at the calories, fats, proteins and carbs – they all look good. You think, “SCORE!” However, that yogurt has high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in it, which has been proven to pack on the pounds faster than any other ingredient. It also increases your LDL cholesterol levels and contributes to the development of diabetes and tissue damage. That more than undoes the good of replacing that cereal. Look at the ingredient list for yogurts without HFCS, they’re out there!

You go for a nice run and feel really parched afterward (nice job pushing yourself). You decide to reach for a sports drink, because if all those athletes you admire drink it too…it has to be good for you, right? If you check the ingredients list, you’ll see there’s Blue #1 and Blue #2. These food dyes are banned in Norway, Finland and France. It’s been thought to contribute to behavioral problems in children and lead to a significant reduction in IQ. Animal studies have linked food colorings to cancer. It’s also believed it may cause chromosomal damage. Again, there are some sports drinks without the crap, but you’ve got to look at that ingredient list to know for sure!

I could go on but the point is this: Continue to scan the macronutrients of your food (paying close attention to the trans fat and sugar content up there), but don’t stop until you look at the ingredients and make sure you don’t see any of these included in there:

  • HFCS
  • Corn oil
  • Soybean oil
  • Soy protein
  • Refined wheat flour
  • Maltodextrin
  • Corn or wheat starch
  • Soy lectin
  • Mono and diglycerides
  • Dyes
  • Sodium nitrate
  • Potassium bromate
  • Propylene glycol
  • MSG

I’m not trying to make eating complicated, because in fact, healthy eating is very simple. But I want you to remember that the government is about profit and not people. Many of these ingredients have been banned in other countries because they are harmful to our health, but we are left not knowing this. My job, my calling, is to just share what I learn in my own research. Copy this list and keep it on your phone for the next time you go shopping… Or better yet, just do what I always say… Eat more from the farm!