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The Importance of Reading Labels

Ingredient Labels…A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

An important aspect of staying healthy is reading labels. Unfortunately, a lot of them can be misleading. Food companies have the tendency to add words that make their products sound healthy, but if you look closely you will see that that is not always the case.

Let’s look at foods that boast “natural flavors.” This term is VERY common in labels of foods that claim to be healthy. There is usually nothing natural about what goes into “natural flavorings”. Natural flavor is “made from a single plant or animal. It can be an extract, essence, distillate, processed with heat, cold pressing, fermentation, or centrifuging. A few of these natural flavors include MSG, Processed free glutamic acid, hydrolyzed protein product, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, aspartame and shellac. All of these are legally allowed to be hidden behind “natural flavors” on an ingredients list. MSG is a neurotoxin- what is natural about something that may harm the brain??

“Multigrain” is another word that presumes healthiness. Instead, look for foods that say “whole grain” or “100% whole wheat.” Whole grains, like popcorn, brown rice, and oatmeal, have more fiber and other nutrients than those that have been refined, which means they have been stripped of the healthiest portions of the grain. Also, don’t go by color alone. Some darker breads have caramel coloring and are just as bad as white breads.

“Sugar Free” is up next. Putting this on a food does not mean a product has fewer calories than the regular version- in fact, it may even have more! These products contain sugar alcohols, such as mannitol, xylitol, or sorbitol.

“Fat free” is one of the most misleading labels. When the dangers of saturated and trans fats were discovered, companies came out with “fat free” versions of foods. In order for the fat-free food to maintain its taste, the fat has to be replaced with something else that will give it a similar flavor and texture. In most cases, the fat is replaced by sodium, sugar, or carbohydrates. How can this be good for you? It’s not!

“Gluten free” is another popular one. The only time that you want to reach for the gluten free items, is when you have a literal gluten intolerance or celiacs. For everyone else, it does not help you lose weight, nor is it healthier for you.

“Lightly sweetened” is a term that isn’t even defined by the FDA. This is one of those made-up terms to boost marketing and quite simply all it means is SUGAR.

“Two percent milk” sounds good, right? But what most people don’t know is that whole milk contains only 3.25% fat. Plus, any milk other than whole is stripped of the GOOD fat your body needs!

And last but certainly not least is sugar. Did you know that there are SIXTY-ONE different names for the stuff?? Food companies know that consumers are starting to read labels and because of this, they have found ways to hide these sugars in plain sight. Here are just a few:

• Agave Nectar

• Barley Malt

• Cane Juice

• Caramel

• Corn Syrup

• Dextrin

• Dextrose

• Maltodextrin

• Maltol

• Mannose

• Panocha

• Rice syrup

• Saccharose

• Sucrose

• Treacle

The moral of the story, is always read your food labels. And now that you are armed with this knowledge, you will find that it is almost impossible to buy products that don’t contain these and other harmful ingredients. This is why GOLO promotes the use of REAL, WHOLE foods - ones that don’t require labels. We urge you to consider ditching these items from your diet, and guess what? If you do, you’ll not only find that you feel healthier but you will also have more money in your wallet.