Reading Food Labels

Food Label
By Be Well Health Coach Katrine van Wyk

I consider real food to be foods that are as close to nature as possible, with very few ingredients. That means foods that our grandparents would recognize and gladly eat. But in today’s supermarkets even finding something as simple as bread or butter requires some savvy skills.

Real Foods Don’t Have Ingredient Lists

Think fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, eggs and meat. These are real, unaltered, whole foods that don’t need long ingredient labels and salesy tag-lines. It’s just food! However – you do want to make sure to look at where the food is coming from and how it was produced. Organic produce, grass-fed meat and dairy, pastured eggs and wild-caught fish is the way to go as often as possible.

Don’t Let ‘em Fool Ya

Even if the label says all-natural – it may contain a lot of less-than-healthy ingredients! Processed seed oils like canola, corn and soybean oil are great examples. They sneak in to so many foods and are pro-inflammatory! And claims like “heart-healthy”, “low-fat” or “sugar-free” can often be very misleading. “Low-fat” usually means that a lot of other flavorings and sweeteners have been added to compensate for the missing fat and “sugar-free” often indicates that artificial sweeteners have been added instead. 

Look for Stamps of Approval!

USDA certified organic means the food contains mainly (but not necessarily 100%) all organic ingredients. There is also a stamp for Non-GMO foods now. Look for that on all your packaged foods.

Know Your Way…

Navigating the grocery store can be overwhelming and confusing to say the least. Know that the real food is always at the periphery of the store – so just stay away from those aisles in the middle and you’re already much better off.

Sign up for my free weekly newsletter
And Receive The First Chapter Of My New Book

...and how you can stay young, slim and happy