Now that we have a better understanding of food labelling from the first blog, let's look a little closer at the ingredients listing.
Probably the easiest way to read ingredients is to keep this in mind - If you don't know how to pronounce an ingredient, or what it is, then your body won't either. Even if you do vaguely know what it is, can you think about the process it has taken to get there? How far is the ingredient from the whole food in its natural form?
You can then make a decision for yourself as to whether you want to put that in your body.
Of course, there will be times when you simply need to eat, can't find an alternative or just don't want to fuss around. This is simply a guide and good to keep in mind as you are learning more about foods and how they can help or harm your health.
There are so many options now on the shelves, which means there is most likely an alternative option if you are finding your go-to foods are actually not as healthy as you originally thought.
If you are wanting to make a version of your favourite packaged foods from scratch to avoid unhealthy ingredients, usually Googling the food name and homemade or from scratch will pull up a recipe or two!
Here is a guide to most of the ingredients that show up in packaged foods that you probably want to avoid wherever possible:
COLOURS: 102, 104, 107, 110, 120, 122-129, 132, 142, 150, 151, 155, 160b (annatto)
PRESERVATIVES: (200-203), Benzoates (210-213), Sulphites (220-228), Nitrates & Nitrites (249, 252), Proprionates (280-283)
ANTIOXIDANTS: Gallates (310-312), TBHQ, BHA, BHT (319-321)
FLAVOUR ENHANCERS: 620-625, 627, 631, 635
OTHERS: Hydrolysed Vegetable Protein (HVP), Hydrolysed Soy Protein (HSP), Soy Protein Isolate (SPI), Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP), Hydrogentaed Vegetable Oil, Vegetable Oil
+ SUGARS AND SUGAR SUBSTITUTES – Remember, even though they aren’t “sugar” the body still reads them as so!
They include: Aspartame, erythritol, stevia, palm sugar, agave, sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, xylitol, polydextrose.
A simple online search can tell you the negative side-effects from some of these ingredients if you do want to find out more.
In summary, be alert but not alarmed! Nobody is perfect and sometimes you need to make compromises. It's good to be educated and to have an awareness about what is going into you foods so you can make conscious decisions for you and your family.