Are You Reading the Fine Print?
Consumer awareness has been growing in recent years with a lot of focus being placed on health and wellbeing. With dieting and nutrition becoming a cultural norm, most people believe that it is extremely important to pay attention to the nutrition labels on their products. In fact, because of this, the organic products market has been on the rise and is currently reaching over forty billion dollars in sales each year. While it is true that nutrition labels play an important role in caring for our personal health, there is another label with an even finer print that needs a closer look and that is the ingredients label. More importantly, let’s discuss a few things you should be on the lookout for in any ingredients label.
1. What Comes First: Ingredients lists are ranked from first to last by the amount of an ingredient included in the product. Therefore it is extremely important to pay close attention to what is listed at the very top of the ingredients list. Try to avoid foods with sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and any “filler” ingredients listed highly.
2. Allergens: By law, companies are required to list on their products what kinds of allergens may be a threat in their products. Whether you’re allergic to milk, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, soy, etc. you can find it listed in the product’s ingredients. Allergens are a very serious matter and can have extremely detrimental effects on an individual which makes paying attention to ingredients labels a crucial piece in consumer awareness. Paying attention to the allergens in the food you eat, could potentially help you become aware of food sensitivity you’re not yet aware of.
3. Whole foods: When looking at ingredients list if you notice that the first few items on the list are whole foods this could suggest that the product is less processed and better suited for your personal health.
4. Shorter Lists: Probably the most important aspect to pay attention to when looking at the ingredients list is the size of the list itself. If it contains more than two to three lines this could suggest that the product is highly processed and potentially detrimental to your wellbeing. While the product list size isn’t a guarantee that an item may be healthier, it is a good first step to take in eliminating some foods from your diet.
5. Chemicals and Preservatives: From volatile chemicals in home cleaning products to household medications and even simple additives in food like artificial sweeteners, there are many different products to avoid in ingredients labels. You should always be on the lookout for chemically enhanced products that could be extremely dangerous to your health and the health of your family and environment. Chemical additives have become normality in certain products, and this is very troubling due to the issues it can create.
While nutrition labels and the labeling on the front of products has become important to our society and our diets, they shouldn’t always be taken at face value. In fact, before you can believe anything that the nutrition label says or the claims made on the front of the label, you should know what is in the product you are buying. So while you’re looking to purchase more organic products and closely observing the nutrition labels for more information, you should take a look at the ingredients label as well, what you find there may surprise you.