When you do your food shopping, do you find yourself wondering what the labels really mean? For example, you see labels that say 100% organic, or no trans fat, but how do really know what the standards are? For some items it may say that there is no fat or trans fat, but they may contain just a little. Believe it or not, some companies just add the labels so that you will buy the products. By taking the time to figure out exactly what the labels mean, you will be ensuring that you are really getting what you want.
First lets take a look at organic foods. Did you know that the UK Government requires an item to be 95% organic in order to have the label. This means that just because an items says it is organic it may not be 100% organic. If you want something that is 100% organic your best option is to look for just that. When they put that 100% sign on the label you can be sure that you are getting a totally organic product. In most cases you can figure out if a product is completely organic just by reading the label.
There are some things that have the label “natural” on them. I must admit that when I first started seeing this label on items, I assumed that it meant they were organic. To my surprise, after reading the ingredients on these products, I learned that many companies use this as a way to get you to buy it. Remember to not just go by the sticker with the words “natural”, on them. You will need to take the time to read the ingredients to see what you are really going to be eating.
When it comes to trans fat, you will need to look for more than just the 0% sign. You will want to read the ingredients and make sure that it does not have any “partially hydrogenated oils” in them. These oils can actually add the trans fat to the item, by they way that they are processed. When they put no trans fat added that means that they did not add any additional.
With meat products you will sometimes see the words “cage free”, or “free range”, on them. The healthier option is the “free range”. What this means is that the animals or in most cases birds were actually raised outside instead of in a factory setting. Some people have chosen to not eat foods where the animals are kept caged up in a factory.
Multigrain and wholegrain products are no different. Just because a package of bread says multigrain or wholegrain on the label does not mean that it is a healthy option. In some cases they may only put a small amount of multigrain or wholegrain in the product. If when you look at the ingredients list you see that the multigrain or wholegrain is the first two ingredients on the list then this means that they have large amounts of it in the product. If it is buried somewhere toward the bottom of the ingredient list they may have only used a small amount. Remember to read the ingredients not just the nutrition facts, especially on items like bread, and pasta.
What about the 100% juices that you see advertised. I know, in my own experience, I would purchase these items without question. The reason was because I really thought that I was buying a quality product. The truth is that once you look at the label you realize that the juice had some additional additives and may even be from concentrate. Reading juice labels and looking for “pure” juice is definitely the better option.
So there you have a few ideas and suggestions on how to decode the labels the next time you go to visit the supermarket.