SUPERMARKET TRICKERY - BE YOUR OWN DETECTIVE

Generally I try to stay away from supermarkets. Overall I find them infuriating!

When I look in peoples trolleys and see that they have chosen foods which have been marketed so well to appear healthy, I know they are trying to do the right thing for themselves and for their families. I am positive that if they REALLY knew what was in that food and how it may be effecting their health, they would certainly not be filling their trollies with it.

However, we all know its not really the supermarket's fault and that big companies with lots of money, science and market research are targeting and promoting directly to us. We are being tricked at every turn to buy what we think are healthful products, mislead by labelling and not given all the information due to the lack of protective laws around food labelling.

The majority of Australians do not know how to read food labels nor do they have a very patient husband or a sad nerd-like interest in reading them as I do.

So, why the hell am I bothering to read them? Because the smarter and more health conscious we get, the more secretive the labelling gets.

In a recent (very occasional) trip to the dreaded supermarket, I am doing my reading and shopping and come a cross a bread that inspired me to write this blog.

Now, breads are some of the most hastily prepared, manufactured, additive and preservative laden, chemically fortified food products on the shelf. And no, it doesn’t mater if you get wholemeal, multigrain or white. It is all pretty nasty stuff. Even when I look at the beautifully baked sourdoughs from the bakery section, they are still preserved, fortified and yeast risen as opposed to sourdough culture.

However, all is not lost. I came across Bills Certified Organic Health Bakery bread and was pleasantly surprised. No yeast, no preservatives, NO FORTIFICATION. I actually don’t think there is another bread in the supermarket that is not fortified. PLUS it is made with himalayan pink salt as opposed to iodised salt and the wheat is stoneground, as tradition dictates it should be. Even their fruit bread uses organic dried fruit which means it is free from sulphites and preservatives. I could not believe it! Now keep in mind these are not gluten free, but they are the best quality in a bag that I have seen in years.

I keep shopping and reading and came across a new, very attractive, pre-made quinoa product. Cool, I thought. When I picked it up and turned it over I was so excited. Quinoa is a great wholesome food that I recommend to many of my clients, maybe this will make their lives easier, I thought.

I take a closer look. Firstly, it seems to be sweating in its plastic pack. Not great, I think. Secondly, I take a glance at the nutritional panel and its 15% sugar...WHAT? WHY? I head to the ingredients list and see half way through that is has cane sugar added, my audible WHAT?! was heard through the aisle and beyond.

But wait, there's other products in the range. I pick them up, start looking through and see that they have something called GDL in it. And, it's very hard to read in the list. Not good. I don't like numbers and acronyms in my food.

When I researched it later, I saw that it is a food additive, starting with "E" (E575). Here I was thinking that GDL looked better than E575, and I have studied Nutrition! It seems safe from a Google search, but still, if we can cook up some quinoa at home and not need the GDL then why does it need to be in the pre-packaged product? 

I quickly moved on to the yoghurt section, a favourite food detective haunt of mine, to continue my scrutiny of packaged food.

At the end of the day, unfortunately, my sleuthing determines that most of what is on our supermarket shelves, is not real food. 

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Melissa GearingComment