One of the most common questions I get asked is “how do I know if what I’m eating is healthy or not?”
There is so much deception in our food industry today that it has become difficult to determine what is healthy and what is not. Every food manufacturer is competing for your dollar, so they come up with catchy commercials, campaigns, slogans and buzz-words to attract your eyes and buy their product.
I’m going to share with you some simple tips that will allow you to easily and quickly determine is a product is healthy for you and your family.
Okay, so let’s dive in
Tip #1: This may sound a little crazy or unorthodox, but DON’T focus on the amount of calories, fats, proteins and carbohydrates. When we are eating healthy foods, the amount of calories, fats, etc… don’t matter. The type of foods you’re eating is much more important to focus on.
Tip #2: What I DO want you to focus on is the ingredient list. This is where you’ll actually find what’s in your food. If you see a long list of ingredients with big words that you don’t recognize or are hard to pronounce; odds are this product does not belong in your shopping cart.
Smaller ingredient lists with easy-to-read words that you recognize are best. Also, whole foods that don’t come with a nutrition label are obviously your best choice; fresh fruits and veggies, good quality meats and healthy fats are whole foods that don’t need a nutrition label.
If there is one ingredient quantity/amount you do want to look for, it would be the amount of SUGAR in a product. Even if a product says “organic” or has few ingredients, if the sugar content is high, skip this product.
Tip #3: Organic foods are preferred because they are not exposed to the amount of harmful pesticides and herbicides of conventional produce.
When it comes to meat or animal products, look for words such as “grass-fed”, “free-range”, and “wild-caught”.
Tip #4: Shop the perimeter of the store; this is generally where you will find the healthier quality foods. The inner aisles of the store will generally contain the most processed, pre-packaged and boxed foods.
Tip #5: Avoid buzz words that are intended to catch your eye. They are misleading and often do not deliver a healthier product. This words include: Diet, Zero-Calories, Calorie-Free, Light, Fat-Free, 0g Trans-Fat and even the words All-Natural, which has a very vague meaning in today’s world.
The 7 most dangerous food ingredients to avoid:
1) Artificial Sweeteners – This will include sucralose, aspartame and saccharin. They are found in many zero-calorie drinks and the blue/pink/yellow packets on diner tables.
2) Synthetic, Man-Made Fats – Trans fats, partially hydrogenated oils, vegetable oils, canola oil.
3) Artificial Flavors – Typically labeled as “artificial flavoring”.
4) MSG – Monosodium Glutamate is known as an “excitotoxin” that causes brain-chemistry problems and brain cell death.
5) Artificial Colors – These include the blue, red, yellow dye’s added to many foods.
6) High Fructose Corn Syrup – See below.
7) Preservatives – BHT, Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Nitrate, Sulfites and many other chemicals that are toxic to your body and raise cellular inflammation.
Finally, it is hard to look for GMO foods on labels because North America is one of the only countries in the world that does not require food companies to label GMO ingredients; however, some companies have taken the initiative to self-label that their products do not contain GMO’s.
Some of the highest concentrations of GMO food crops in the world are found in corn and soybeans. For this reason you want to avoid almost all products that contain corn, high fructose corn syrup, soybeans and soybean oil unless labeled organic and non-GMO