How to Evaluate a Food Label

How to Evaluate a Food Label

Eat it all. Sometimes I would like to eat it all but moderation is key and in some cases, we shouldn’t eat it at all. I’d like to believe I am buying clean foods all the time. Yet, sometimes the most beautifully packaged food that is considered real, organic, clean, natural, etc. can contain additives. Last year I wrote a blog about what sugars to look for and avoid on food labels. It is so important to know how to read a food label. So this time I’m going to go over additives that are in food and which ones to avoid. If consuming foods daily that contain additives, it can cause major health problems, that’s why I place such importance on reading your labels!

How to Evaluate a Food Label

1. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

We have all heard that MSG is not the best ingredient to consume but why? MSG is used in savory foods and restaurants. It can cause an array of symptoms if consumed too often but one major symptom is headaches. Studies have also found that overtime, it causes weight gain for some people. I would steer clear of this additive.

2. Maltodextrin

This is an additive that is derived from wheat, corn rice, or potato starch. It is used to thicken food, prolong the shelf life, and mixed with artificial sweeteners to make foods sweeter. Therefore, it can be found in many different foods. It is highly processed and considered a carbohydrate. It can affect blood sugar, and disrupt the gut, especially if you suffer from food intolerances. Stay away from this ingredient.

3. Guar Gum

Used to thicken foods, guar gum is high in fiber so it can help with bloating and constipation. Guar gum can also be an appetite suppressor for some people. It is fine to consume in small amounts, but if eaten in large amounts, it can cause cramping, gas, and bloating. If there is an additive you plan on consuming, I would definitely recommend this one over the others mentioned.

4. Xanthan Gum

This is also used to thicken foods and can be found in a lot of gluten free foods to improve texture. It has been known to lower blood sugar. However, too much can be a bad thing. If consumed in high amounts, it can cause digestive issues. It’s the lesser of the evils, but I would stick to only purchasing a few foods at a time that contain this.

5. Carrageenan

This can be found in a lot of dairy-free products like almond milk and vegan cheese. It is derived from seaweed and is used as a thickener and a preservative. It can impact gut health in a negative way and has been known to produce ulcers. I’d stay away from this product.

I don’t buy any food product without checking the label. There are so many companies that try to sneak these additives into our foods and they are not kind to our bodies. If you consume any of the additives on a regular basis and you decrease your consumption, I promise you will feel so much better. The food we are eating should help our bodies thrive not cause additional health concerns. I hope this list is helpful. Don’t forget to read those labels!

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