3 Things to Watch Out For on Food Labels

Abigail Blank - The Upside Blog | Vitacost.com/blog

by | Updated: December 2nd, 2016 | Read time: 2 minutes

Although there is a faction of the American public who is not interested in label reading, I think the majority of us tend to believe ourselves to be adept at this particular life skill. Most Americans rely on labels to inform them about the content of a food product with honest and factual information. And they do that…sort of.

Label Reading Tips

Ever noticed the recommended serving size of cereal is laughably small? Or how about products advertising themselves as natural? And do you know which vegetables make up the content of “vegetable oil”?

Most prepackaged food is convenient, portable and varies drastically in nutritional content. Reading the labels, while important, can make your grocery shopping last an eternity. There are Three Golden Rules to follow that will keep your label reading quick, efficient, and smart!

  1. Look for the Seal

One of the easiest ways to know that the food you’re choosing is safe and healthy is to look for the Project Non-GMO Verified Seal and the USDA Certified Organic label. These are very often found together and are not mutually exclusive. Anything labeled 100% Certified Organic will also be non-GMO as genetically modified ingredients are not allowed in any 100% organic product. Don’t bother with anything labeled “natural” because it means absolutely nothing. The only way to ensure you’re choosing food with the least amount of chemical exposure is to go with organic.

  1. Scan for the Worst Offenders

There are some easy to spot ingredients that are huge red flags. If you see corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup you can nearly guarantee this is made from genetically modified corn. Artificial sweeteners like sucralose and aspartame are associated with a long list of health risks from short-term memory dysfunction to Parkinson’s Disease to migraines. And then there are the food dyes – red #40, blue #1 and #2, and yellow #5 and #6 are all linked to chromosomal damage, tumors and cancer.

  1. Five or Fewer

Generally, when you are reading ingredient labels, the fewer ingredients the better. Long ingredient lists are made up mostly of preservatives and additives ie: chemicals. If you see five or fewer ingredients on a package, it’s probably safer to go with that one.

Tip: the best place to buy non-GMO foods & snacks is at Vitacost.com!