Read the Fine Print!

If shoppers take a few moments to read the labels on the fodd they're buying, they can make significant changes to their diets and health.

NO, I’m not talking about a legal document; I’m referring to food packaging. Anyone who’s reading this is clearly literate. But how well do most people apply reading skills to fundamental activities like grocery shopping? Taking a few moments to read the listed ingredients can lead to better, more healthful eating. In fact, the entire family can participate in reading and reap the health rewards.

In this situation, less is better. Usually, a shopper can determine that the fewer ingredients an item has the better the contents tend to be. In addition, the consumer should beware of products that contain unpronounceable ingredients.

Finally, she should realize that the suffix –ose usually indicates some type of sugar: Lactose, glucose, fructose, and sucrose all are forms of sugar. 

Having become highly sensitized to the inclusion of the multitude of additives in processed foods, I recently spent a day walking down supermarket aisles doing some basic research.  I spent some time perusing ingredient labels of a wide variety of items. Considering the ever-increasing expansion of the American waist-line, and the incidence of diabetes in this society, I fully expected to see “sugar” among the first of ingredients in products like cereals, cakes, cookies, ice cream and yogurt—and I did. Indeed,  I was alarmed at the profusion of methods used to conceal that fact. Many companies have eschewed the word “sugar” for more esoteric or chemical designations, like “evaporated cane juice” (How does that differ
from granulated sugar?) or “high fructose corn syrup.”  Unfortunately, sweeteners of all sorts also appear in foods that we wouldn’t suspect: I found it in most soy milk and salsa brands and even in pickles! Why?

I do not profess to be a scientist or nutritionist, but I am a diligent reader.  If shoppers take a few extra moments at the supermarket to learn what they’re ingesting, they might very well alter their diets  and eat their way
to better health. How's THAT for a ?

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Andrew Kaplan January 04, 2012 at 08:06 PM
Great article. Here's a link to article written by a Guilford Pediatrician with additional information, http://www.buildhealthykids.com/blog/rely-on-the-ingredients-list-for-healthy-food-shopping/


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