Don’t let food claims trick you. When searching the inner isles of the supermarket where most of the processed, packaged foods live, and you find yourself staring at a box of something that piques your interest, seems somewhat healthy and has big label plastered on it stating a particular health claim. You may want to put your health detective hat on and dig a little deeper…
What you’ll find is that there’s often a whole myriad of ingredients that makes this particular food not as healthy as you initially thought. It’s typically made for shelf life not your life. For the better choices and the food that is full of life giving energy and health promoting nutrients, you want to aim to shop the perimeter of the supermarket. This is where the fresh produce is likely kept! Now, back to that box you’ve just picked up of the shelf. Remember, food marketing is designed to appeal to your emotions, to seduce you into buying a product because it’s “low fat”, “gluten free” etc.
These labels and health claims don’t always stack up or mean it’s necessarily good for you. Here’s one tip to help navigate a better choice. Look at the list of ingredients! Pay attention to the order in which they are listed. The most abundant ingredient (by weight) is listed first. Others are listed in descending order from highest to lowest amounts by weight. For example, if you see sugar in the top 2-3 listed ingredients you can be sure that this product is going to be a little high in sugar and one you’d want to consider if there’s another option. For example ‘healthy’ marinades and sauces you see on the shelves may claim to be gluten free but that doesn’t automatically make it a healthier choice if there’s an abundance of sugar in the product.
Remember, the food industry is clever. But so are you, now you know what to look for, I hope you are armed with some knowledge to become your own health advocate and choose foods that are going to best nourish you and support your health goals.