My Take On Food Labels

I spend a lot of time reading food labels.  I read them in order to make informed choices.  I do not seek to achieve some imagined level of dietary perfection.  I use the information on food labels as just that, information, rather than as a flat directive of good versus bad.  While foods without labels are ideal, such as meat, eggs and fresh vegetables, I do consume processed foods.  When it comes to processed foods, I begin with asking myself the question “Does this appear to be something I might eat”.

In my world, something like Doritos qualifies as a “hyper food” meaning hyper-processed or hyperpalatable (or ultra-processed). As I am not stranded on an island with a crate of Doritos as my only food source, “hyper foods” are skipped the vast majority of the time.  Besides, “hyper foods” are usually chock full of carbohydrates!  Yah, Doritos and many other high carb processed foods are flatly bad and I have eliminated them as a possibility.

My goal is to minimize spikes in blood glucose and insulin. Carbohydrates impact blood glucose and insulin release, thus I have a low carb/ketogenic lifestyle.  Starting out, stick to the basic tenant of counting carbs.  Eventually, your focus may likely to shift to food quality and that is when evaluating ingredients will become even more important.  Label reading skills are good to develop and it does take time to learn the ins and outs of ingredients.

Here is the general flow I use when checking out a food.

Evaluate carbohydrates

Evaluate The Ingredient List

  • At a glance, is the ingredient list short, long, or super long?
    • The longer it is, the harder I look for suspect ingredients.
  • What are the first 5 ingredients?
    • The ingredient at the highest percentage (by weight) goes first, then then next highest, etc.
    • If the ingredients list has more than 5-6 ingredients, it may be a sign the product has been heavily processed
  • Are there ingredients that I do not recognize?
    • This is less about freaking out over an ingredient and more about educating myself.
    • If you are a novice food label reader, do not stressed out over what you do not recognize.
    • Embrace the learning process and focus on your main goal. If you are reading from this blog it is likely the amount of carbs and sugar. Identify your main priority and  stay focused.

Evaluate Fats

Soy & Other Ingredients

Every now and then, I may consume foods that would qualify as keto krap. For the most part, I eat pretty clean and according the dietary parameters I have developed for myself over time.

Never forget: 1 teaspoon of sugar equals 4 grams.

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Gluten-Free Cracked Pepper & Sea Salt Crackerz

 

zeroodle shirataki spaghetti with oat fiber

nina san marzano tomatoes

 

birdseye frozen coconut

 

20g-grams-in-two-ways

 

More to come…..

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