This past week I’ve been teaching my health science class students at South Seattle Community College about food labels. Specifically, we’ve been learning about what the many ingredients are and what they mean. I’m pleased how disgusted the students are getting as they learn the truth about whats in the junk foods they eat. I’ve been able to use those bags of Cheetos they walk in with to class as perfect examples of how much crap and chemicals are in our food.
There are many ingrediens to look out for when reading a food label. The top 3 to watch out for include:
1. High Fructose Corn Syrup. this is the most comon added sweetener in processed foods and beverages. High fructose corn syrup is a highly refined, artificial product. You can find this ingredient in many food products such as frozen pizza, crackers, cereal, candies, sweetened yogurt, baby food, ketchup, cookies, beer, sodas, juices, etc. Don’t buy it if you see this ingredient listed.
2. Partially hydrogenated oils. Code word for trans fat. There have been links between trans fats adn diseases like cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes
3. “Enriched” flour. Code word for refined flour. Enriched flour is flour in which most of the natural vitamins and minerals have been extracted. This is done in order to give bread a finer texture, increase shelf life and prevent bugs from eating it (bugs will die if they attempt to live off it).
Other ingredients to watch out for include: BHA, parabens, sodium nitrite, caramel coloring, MSG, food dyes, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, palm oil, soybean oil, potassium bromate
As I have mentioned in earlier blog posts, a good rule of thumb is to buy foods that don’t require a label. Those foods would be things like fruits, veggies, fish, lean meats, and nuts. The more you can eat of food in its true and wholesome form, the better off your health will be.