Reading food labels is essential to avoid junk food and make healthier choices because many foods that claim to be healthier can still be high in calories, sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats. Food labels provide valuable information about a product's ingredients, nutrient content, and serving size, which can help you make more informed decisions about what you're eating.
Buz words like organic, gluten-free, vegan, and others can help identify certain qualities of food, but they can also be misleading. For example, a product labeled as "organic" may still be high in sugar or calories. In contrast, a "gluten-free" product may still contain unhealthy additives.
The term "organic" on a food label refers to how the food is grown and processed rather than its nutritional value or healthfulness.
Here are a few reasons why buying organic can be good:
Pesticide use: Organic farming practices prohibit using synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, which can harm human health and the environment. By buying organic, you can minimize exposure to these potentially harmful chemicals.
Environmental sustainability: Organic farming practices are generally more sustainable and environmentally friendly than conventional ones. Organic farms often use crop rotation and composting methods to promote soil health and reduce erosion.
Animal welfare: Organic farming practices generally require that animals be treated humanely and given access to outdoor areas.
Nutritional value: Some studies suggest that organic foods may be more nutritious than conventionally grown foods. For example, organic fruits and vegetables may have higher specific vitamins and antioxidants.
While organic produce or real food items may be healthier without synthetic chemicals, organic processed items can still be high in calories, sugar, and unhealthy fats. For example, an organic cookie may be made with organic flour and sugar but still contain high calories, sugar, and unhealthy fats.
Additionally, some organic foods may be highly processed or contain added sugars and preservatives, which can diminish healthfulness. For example, an organic juice may be made from organic fruits but still have added sugars that contribute to excess calories and negate the health benefits of the fruit.
Organic flavored yogurt: These often have sugar, dextrose, maltodextrin, and even sucrose. Plus, they often contain natural flavors, gums, and more.
Organic crackers: These are commonly full of enriched flour or white flour.
Organic cookies: are still full of sugars, dextrose, and natural flavors.
Organic cake mixes: still have unwanted preservatives, sugars, sweeteners, and more.
Organic Frozen Meals: These meals can still contain sodium, added sweeteners, and sugars + preservatives you want to avoid.
Remember- Just because it's organic, does not mean it's healthy. Organic ice cream is still organic ice cream. It may have better ingredients but it's still ICE CREAM and isn't a healthy option just because it's organic.
Check the back of the package for the ingredients! If there are five or more ingredients, this indicates highly processed food. Suppose the first five ingredients contain sugar, flavors, fake sugars, preservatives, corn syrup, dyes, or other synthetic elements. In that case, it's considered a low-nutrient food, and I would look for something more nutrient dense to fill you up and help you stay full.
This is the beginning of a series of blogs about food labels so that you can become more informed. The moral of the story is always to READ YOUR LABELS. In the coming weeks I will talk more about Buz words, specific parts of the label and how to make better choices for you and your family.
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