Food labels are something I started reading after learning more about nutrition. I always read food labels on packaged food, unless I’m craving a box of Kraft dinner or some other deliciously terrible treat. I don’t read the food label or ingredients in some guilty pleasures because I know it’s not going to be a good outcome.
Although I try to shop on the edges of the grocery store (produce, meat, poultry and some dairy), there are some foods I buy pre-made, such as granola and salad dressings. I always look at the food labels for these products, but what am I really looking at? Research carried out by a label website, Data Label, has revealed that 31% of people do not trust the information provided on the labels of pre-packaged food
I look at calories and fat, because I have a general understanding of them. I also look at sugar and salt, but I’m not actually sure how much of it is good or bad. I will usually compare products and pick the one with the lowest of each.
If I’m watching my sugar intake, I read the ingredients list on food labels to make sure I’m not ingesting one of those ‘bad sugars’. I also like to make sure there is not 20 things on the ingredients list that sound like things I’ve never heard of, which obviously can’t be good for you.
For me, reading food labels can be overwhelming. I try to pick packaged products with minimal ingredients and lower sugar, salt and fat. But it becomes even more concerning when reading the labels on food we assume should only contain one ingredient. Whether that’s dairy that has chemicals and sugar added or your produce that has additives to make it last longer. Do we even know what we’re getting when we choose ‘organic’ meats and fruit?
On a day to day basis, reading these labels can not only be stressful because you have no idea what certain ingredients are, or how much sugar is too much sugar, but then there is an added question of, can you trust what the food label is telling you?
What a scary thought, that we may not even know what is in our food. Research carried out by a label website has revealed that 31% of people do not trust the information provided on the labels of pre-packaged food. And why should they? You might remember, there was the horse meat scandal in 2013. Some products that claimed to contain meat (beef) contained up to 100% horse meat!
It’s stressful to think you could not know the truth about the food labels; that the dinner you’re bringing home to your family isn’t actually what it claims to be. Not only that, but there is an abundance of nutrition and wellness information available pulling us to each and every end of the spectrum. It’s confusing to know what to choose: low fat, full fat, no sugar, natural sugars, food with no more than 3 ingredients.
This is why I try to shop on the outside of the grocery store as much as possible. There is the debate or organic vs non-organic, but at least I know more about exactly what the food I’m eating is.