Reading Labels: Know Your Food Label "No's"

Reading Labels: Know Your Food Label "No's"

As someone who has made significant lifestyle changes herself, I can tell you one of the most helpful things for me was to manage where I chose to put my focus. For example, I decided to focus on what I should be doing, and what I should be adding more of into my life vs. what I needed to stop doing or what I needed to have less of in my life. I found this mental shift incredibly helpful, and I encourage my clients to do the same. 

I am going to break away from this recommendation momentarily, however. And it’s in regards to food additives. There are a TON of food additives, found in processed foods that we should avoid. Processed foods are anything that comes from a box, can, or package. However, I want you to remember and steer clear of these three we are about to discuss.  


The three most harmful must avoid food additives are - drum roll, please.

1.    High Fructose Corn Syrup.


Scientists make High Fructose Corn Syrup through a chemical process that converts cornstarch into HCFS. It’s cheaper than sugar and has a longer shelf life.  It’s found in most low-fat foods and is linked to increased blood fats and therefore raises bad cholesterol. Once you get into the habit of looking at the ingredients of packaged foods, you will be blown away by the number of everyday "foods" that have HFCS! 

2.    Hydrogenated Oils


Trans fats, also known as hydrogenated oils, are artificially made when scientists pump hydrogen gas into an unsaturated fat like vegetable oil. This process is called partial hydrogenation. Does that sound familiar at all?! You can find partially hydrogenated oils in many packaged foods and have probably seen that word before on food labels.

The reason we find it in some many packaged foods is that it allows food to have a longer shelf life because they don’t spoil as quickly. It also helps the oils used for deep-fried fast foods withstand higher temperatures without turning rancid. 

 Here we have a Smucker's Uncrustables. The first red flag is the 8g of added sugars. The second notable thing you will see is that trans fats are listed as 0. Yay! Right?! This is a perfect example of the importance of reading the ingredients.

Here we have a Smucker's Uncrustables. The first red flag is the 8g of added sugars. The second notable thing you will see is that trans fats are listed as 0. Yay! Right?! This is a perfect example of the importance of reading the ingredients.

 However, when we look at the ingredients you will notice that there is clearly Fully Hydrogenated Oil in this food product. What, the what?! Food Industry labeling may full of loopholes, however, a trans fat is as a trans fat does, friends. 

However, when we look at the ingredients you will notice that there is clearly Fully Hydrogenated Oil in this food product. What, the what?! Food Industry labeling may full of loopholes, however, a trans fat is as a trans fat does, friends. 

Hydrogenation is a prime example of a big food industry practice that is great for them and their bottom line but horrible for us. Trans fats and hydrogenated oils are the source of many health problems including nerve-cell, damage, decreased immunity, high cholesterol, increased abdominal fat, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.

From a brain health standpoint, they pose problems as well. Think of your brain like a parking lot, with a bunch of empty parking spots. These “parking spots” are receptor sites for things like hormones and nutrients that our brains need to function. When we eat trans fats, they park in the parking spots that healthy fats would typically park in. However, our body doesn’t recognize them the same, and can’t use them correctly. Then when we do eat a healthy fat, it has nowhere to park, even though the trans fat taking up the parking spot is useless to our brain. When our kids can't get the right (healthy fat) into our brain receptors, it leads to poor thought process, and can even lead to poor behavior, among other things. 

If you're not sold on the points above, let's consider this. Trans fats are also believed to cause the emergence of pre-existing heart disease in children as young as ten years old. Ten. Years. Old. This is scary stuff, guys!

 Pic's Peanut Butter is an excellent example of a healthy choice.

Pic's Peanut Butter is an excellent example of a healthy choice.

 TWO Ingredients, guys. Two! And clearly by looking at the jar you can see I didn't like it : )

TWO Ingredients, guys. Two! And clearly by looking at the jar you can see I didn't like it : )


3.    Artificially Flavors & Colors


These additives are also known as excitotoxins - in which a child’s growing brain is four times more sensitive to when compared to an adult’s brain.
You might be familiar with the following types of additives including aspartame, MSG (which is worthy of a blog post of its own), food colorings, and preservatives - yep all excitotoxins.  And they are linked to neurological diseases including Parkinson’s disease, seizures, and Alzheimer’s disease. Again, horrifying stuff that we need to avoid whenever possible. 

 FunFact: There are so many chemicals present in the processing of most microwave popcorns that factory workers are known to be afflicted with "popcorn lung", a disease many of them die from. Also, I am a popcorn connoisseur and this natural Quinn Popcorn is uh-mazing.   

FunFact: There are so many chemicals present in the processing of most microwave popcorns that factory workers are known to be afflicted with "popcorn lung", a disease many of them die from. Also, I am a popcorn connoisseur and this natural Quinn Popcorn is uh-mazing.   

 Ideally you want to stick to packaged goods with 6 ingredients or less. Quinn is killing it with FIVE wholesome natural ingredients. Even better, you can find it at Publix.

Ideally you want to stick to packaged goods with 6 ingredients or less. Quinn is killing it with FIVE wholesome natural ingredients. Even better, you can find it at Publix.

You might be sitting there asking ok, so how the heck do we avoid these ingredients. Well, keep calm, friends. The solution is pretty stinking simple. Try not to eat foods that use ingredients. If it comes in a bag, box, or package - buyer beware. Read the labels. Know your "no's". Stick to labels with the least amount of ingredients, and If you can't pronounce it, you shouldn't be eating it. Just because something is edible doesn't mean it's food. The end. 

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