Monday, December 8, 2008

Read the Labels

Although weight loss seems to be a main focus of this blog, it really is secondary to my quest for vibrant health. Eating clean and healthy (eating whole, unprocessed foods) is a critical strategy in achieving this goal. While I've drastically limited the amount of processed and packaged foods we eat we aren't living an organic vegan lifestyle. So, I have had to become an avid label reader.

High fructose corn syrup/corn syrup is one of the things I look for. It is an insidious poison designed to keep us fat and addicted to mass marketed junk foods, but it's also in places where you wouldn't expect to find it. I was shocked to see HFCS listed as an ingredient in many of the sandwich breads on supermarket shelves. I switched to Ezekiel bread, but I didn't want to force it on my husband, who adores sandwiches on fresh bread. Pepperidge Farm and Arnold are two companies that have stopped using HFCS in their bread so I feel confident buying bread from them. I was also amazed to see how many products claiming to be "fat-free" are loaded with HFCS. They have to make it taste good somehow, right?

Splenda, Nutra-Sweet and other mass marketed artificial sweeteners are also on the "avoid" list. If these chemicals were effective in reducing obesity and contributing to great health of the US population at large, the state of health and wellness affairs in this country would be a whole lot different, would it not?

I don't get caught up in counting calories or fat grams, but one thing I do look at is sodium content. Too much sodium makes me retain water like a cactus and my husband has a family history of hypertension so I make sure that the per serving sodium content isn't through the roof.

I tend to look for items with the shortest ingredient lists and if I can't pronounce it, I don't eat it. Reading labels has been an education for me and I highly recommend it to anyone who is on a quest for better health. Knowledge is power or in this case, knowledge is good health.


  1. The HFCS is the reason I started baking bread last summer. I've now bought a total of three loaves of store-bought bread since August and I'm very proud of myself. For a while, the only brand I could get without HFCS was Rudy's, and at over $4 I refused to buy it. I'll have to re-examine Pepperidge Farms labels though. They always have coupons around and it would be nice to take a week off baking here and there.

  2. Well done, you! Homemade is best made. It's the only way we can truly control our health. If you don't mind sharing your tried and true bread recipes, I'd love to share it with the other readers.