Becoming Conscious of Food Label Ingredients

There are 5 ingredients we should keep an eye on when making health conscious decisions at the grocery store.

“Whole” – Look past the name, color, brand (not all Kashi products are whole grain!) and look at the very first ingredient in the list. Ingredients are listed in descending order, so the first ingredient is proportionally the highest in the product. The ingredient should say whole wheat, whole grain, whole rolled oats, etc. “wheat flour” or “enriched wheat flour” is just another name for refined grains.

“Inulin” (sometimes listed as “chicory root”) – This ingredient often causes gas, bloating and other things that stress out sensitive stomachs. So what is it? Inulin is technically a fiber because the body does not digest it and it has no calories. It also has a naturally sweet flavor to it, so it is appealing for food manufacturers to add this to their products.

Sugar alcohols – These are also risky for those with sensitive stomachs but have been known to take down even the strongest. Look for ingredients that end with “-ols”.
Some examples of sugar alchohols are Erythritol, xylitol, lactitol, maltitol, mannitol, sorbitol,
Glycerol (also known as glycerin or glycerine), hydrogenated starch hydrolysates, and isomalt. For some people, ingesting sugar alcohols will cause some gastric symptoms or have a laxative effect.” -Yoli

Hydrogenated and Partially Hydrogenated oils– This is just another name for trans-fat. “Trans fats not only raise your bad choloestoral (LDL) but they also lower your good cholesterol levels (HDL). Thus, it is linked to increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.”-Yoli

Artificial colors, flavors and preservatives- This is a huge group of ingredients but it is important to realize that the longer the ingredient list, and the more unidentifiable the ingredients are, the more processed that food is.

image by by ohnostock
Contributed by Kaitlin Casey HCZ Health Educator


YGL staff