Thinking Out Loud

A Beginners Guide to Food Labels

By Theagarajan_CML

Okay guys, while most of us are elbow deep in work this week with projects, deadlines and just…life, it’s damn important keep our bodies properly fueled. I know it’s super easy to “de-stress” by eating out or grabbing some boxed food at the store. Stressful days are normally when you just want to grab something quick, flavorful and satisfying. I don’t know all the physiological ins and outs of the connection between our brain impulses and the relationship between sweet, fatty and salty foods…but I know that there IS one.

If you don’t have time to meal prep…it’s okay I won’t yell at you. You should at least know a bit about 1) the food you’re putting in your body and 2) the food labels (if you don’t already). Some of them can be SUPER misleading. Let’s explore a few shall we?

3 Common Food Labels:

NATURAL

Currently, the Food and Drug Administration does not have a definition for “natural”. So, what happens when the governing body that regulates all our food doesn’t have a technical definition or framework for a term? Companies can claim their product is “natural” or “all natural” even if they contain GMO or synthetic ingredients. Nowadays most companies have stopped labeling their foods as “natural” or “all natural” to simply avoid being sued.

NON-GMO

The two most prominent food products that are genetically modified on the US market are corn and soy. So, if the food you’re eating contains a soy lecithin or other soy derivative and/or high fructose corn syrup for example, chances are it’s genetically modified (or at least part of what you’re eating is). While the FDA (currently) considers GMO products to be pretty equivalent to non-GMO products, there’s some new buzz on testing the acidity of GMO vs non-GMO foods. From what I’ve read so far, it may be possible that GMO products have an overall higher acidity level. This had led to other claims and studies to show that disease lives (more) in acidic environments vs. more alkaline environments.

GLUTEN FREE

Have you started to notice that EVERYTHING now is labeled “gluten free”? I mean, since when did an apple contain gluten? Or all corn tortilla chips? Granted, I realize it’s a marketing effort for those that perhaps didn’t know what has always had gluten or not. Let’s be honest, people are very visual. It’s fantastic for people that have a gluten allergy and those that want to avoid gluten. It’s just funny that now foods that have never ever contained gluten now have “GLUTEN FREE” in big ass letters on the product. More people are definitely becoming more health conscious BUT we still need to be informed properly. If you want REAL all natural, non-gmo or farm fresh products, get to know your local farmers and ask questions.

Sources:

FDA: http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodScienceResearch/GEPlants/default.htm

National Geographic’s “The Plate”: http://theplate.nationalgeographic.com/2016/05/11/an-eaters-guide-to-demystifying-food-labels/

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