Food: Labels-Ingredients-Additives

Do you know what you are eating?

More and more people are examining the food that they shop for and making decisions not to purchase the products that appear unhealthy to them. There is much to be concerned about as the use of additives has become so widespread in the manufacturing of food products.

Additives are used to increase profit by reducing production costs in various ways, extending shelf life, enhancing flavor (salt, sugar and fat taste good). There is reason to worry about additives, such as chemical colorings which improve the looks but are feared by many to have bad side effects in the quantities consumed.

And so more of us are interested in expanding our knowledge about the food we eat. Should a consumer be required to research and determine which ingredients and products are harmful? Shouldn't manufacturers under government pressure be prohibited from marketing that which is unhealthy?

But which of those strange ingredients in food packages are somewhat unhealthy or outright harmful? If not in small amounts perhaps grouped with other products containing similar chemicals and accumulated over time? There is information out there but we have to look for it and make our own determinations in order to protect ourselves.

When and why I committed to reading food labels.

It was a late November when I entered a supermarket and was met with a huge display of mincemeat pies. I grabbed one. These were Christmas pies already, what was I not thinking!

Later as I munched on a wedge of this very tasty pie I read the label's ingredients list. Along with the basics for mincemeat pies were . . . . natural and artificial flavors, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, potassium sorbate (preservative), carame (color),cellulose gum, mono and diglycerides,sodium citrate, palmitate, sulfur dioxide (preservative), mononitrate, propionate (preservative).

It's scary when I consider the contents of some food products I have eaten for many years. But better late than never and I now avoid products with ingredients having unfamiliar names or that I consider unhealthy. I read all Nutritional and Ingredients lists on all packaged food before purchasing.

NOTE on LABELS: The large print colorful portion of the label is designed to entice the shopper!! The wording can be confusing and very deceptive. Read the small print and look for trickery with words, exaggerations, and cunning.

A few selected consumer resources on ingredients and additives on food labels.

Reading food product labels that are mandated by your government is a must if you are interested in your and your family's health. The Nutrition Facts label is quite clear in presenting these important health related details but some interpretation is likely required.

How to Understand and Use the Nutrition Facts Label includes details on The Nutrition Facts Panel: serving size, calories, nutrients, daily values, trans fats, protein, and sugars.

How are ingredients listed on a product label?
All food manufacturers are required to list all ingredients in the food on the label. On a product label, the ingredients are listed in order of predominance, with the ingredients used in the greatest amount first, followed in descending order by those in smaller amounts. The label must list the names of any FDA-certified color additives (e.g., FD&C Blue No. 1 or the abbreviated name, Blue 1). But some ingredients can be listed collectively as "flavors," "spices," "artificial flavoring," or in the case of color additives exempt from certification, "artificial colors", without naming each one. Declaration of an allergenic ingredient in a collective or single color, flavor, or spice could be accomplished by simply naming the allergenic ingredient in the ingredient list.
Read more on color additives, childhood hyperactivity, natural and artificial ingredients, low-calorie sweeteners, added vitamins and minerals.

The Food Intolerance Network has independent information about the effects of food on behaviour, health and learning ability in both children and adults. The site contains comprehensive information on a wide range of additives. There is information about the effects of food on behaviour, health and learning ability in both children and adults. Also over forty Factsheets answer many questions directly and a step by step guide to getting started and keeping going with Failsafe eating

Confused about Best Before Dates? Difficult to understand Julian, or impossible to read? You are not alone. FoodiePrints: "Such is not surprising considering that food producers have reportedly been less than forthcoming, regarding information on food packaging, especially when it comes to nutrition. "
Explanations, images and resources about Best Before Dates.

The unhealthy truth: how our food is making us sick.
Robyn O'Brien's delvings have led to her being called the 'Erin Brokovich of the food industry' because she exposes the hidden dangers in the apparently 'safe' ingredients we feed our children and families.
A topical and interesting read.

Preservatives and Food Additives to Avoid from The Cancer Dietician
"Shopping was easy when most food came from farms. Now, factory-made foods have made chemical additives and preservatives a significant part of our diet. People may not be able to pronounce the names of many of these chemicals, but they still want to know what the chemicals do. More importantly, which ones are safe and which are poorly tested or possibly dangerous."
more . . .

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