Are you trying to make healthier choices when it comes to the food you eat? If so, you should be carefully reading the ingredient lists before filling up your cart with so-called “healthy” foods. A lot of people think that they know a healthy food when they see it, but unless it’s something like a whole piece of fruit or vegetable, this, unfortunately, isn’t always the case.
Luckily, don’t have to be a nutritionist to get something out of an ingredient list – you just need to do it! If you need more convincing as to why you should be more closely examining your food choices, keep reading for some of the most important reasons why consumers should be reading ingredient lists.
The Front of the Box Can Be Misleading
The front of a box, can, or package of food may give you a general idea of what’s inside, but it really doesn’t tell you any specifics. For example, a container of yogurt may claim to be “high in protein”, which sounds good, but what else does it contain?
You may be surprised by the amount of added sugar, sodium, and other preservatives and additives that may make up some of your favorite “healthy” foods. Because of this, it’s best to think of the label as more of a marketing advertisement than an honest representation of the food inside.
The Nutrition Facts Aren’t That Helpful
Do you know that little panel on a food’s packaging that includes information such as carbohydrate and protein content, and any included vitamins and minerals? These nutritional facts do give you some idea of whether you’re getting any kind of health benefits from your food, but they certainly don’t provide the whole picture.
The real question is, what is the source of these nutrients? If something is touted as high in protein, for example, it’s important to still look for the source of the protein. There are plenty of ingredients out there that are high in protein but are otherwise bad for your health, so it’s important to be mindful of the difference between healthy and unhealthy sources.
It’s Not the Responsibility of Food Manufacturers to Keep You Healthy
Keep in mind that the number one priority of most food manufacturers is to sell food, not to keep you healthy. A lot of people are becoming more health-conscious these days, and manufacturers are responding by doing whatever they can to make their products seem healthier.
The keyword there is seem. They will find the one potentially healthy nutrient in their food and run with it, downplaying, or outright ignoring, any of the unhealthy ingredients that may make up the bulk of their product. It may seem sneaky, but ultimately, it’s not their responsibility to ensure people are making healthy choices.
That is why it’s so important to look at ingredient lists and take an active role in your own health. The information is there – you just need to read it!