What You Need To Know About Food Labels
When it comes to reading and perilously deciphering the many ingredients & messages of various packaged food labels, who do you believe?! Do you trust the FDA, the USDA, the Organics and All-Naturals of the world? Or are you -- like us -- always a bit skeptical, and second question everything you're being sold?
Clearly, the best label is the skin on a fruit or a vegetable. However, we all buy products that come in packages at some point on our weekly grocery runs (hey, even your Sakara goodness comes in a package), and labels these days have gotten so confusing and so convoluted that it's hard to know what to look for and what to avoid.
Labels were initially created for the Great Depression, when food rationing, conserving money, and reducing waste were of utmost importance. Simultaneously, companies were devising ways to preserve food and make it last without refrigeration, giving it a longer shelf life. This may have helped the economy during the War, but a new battle has emerged from it. Stretching the time it takes for food to go bad created a new revenue stream for countless big businesses, and a way for consumers to spend less money, but at a serious cost to our health.
There are many terms that are super liberal in their meaning, that unless you have a degree in etymology, it would be easy to mistake an ingredient as good when really, it’s been laboratory processed, or worse, genetically modified. It is done through trickery and marketing, geared at making you think you are making a healthy choice. Here's the most common:
Upon first read, to me, this means something along the lines of "coming from Nature". However, did you know that the FDA allows this term to be used as long as there are not artificial flavors or “synthetic substances” present? What this means is that it can contain preservatives and be injected with processed sodium.
HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP
This nasty is derived from corn, so that makes it natural and healthy right? Wrong. Advertisers have taken the liberty to mislead consumers arguing that corn is natural so therefore they can promote the derivative without mentioning that it is laden with processed sugar. And more than likely, genetically modified.
What about Whole Wheat? Not all whole wheat is the same. In order for it to be a good choice, it must say 100% whole wheat or whole grain. If your bread just says "made with whole grain or multi grain", that leaves a wide range for interpretation. What percentage are they even talking about?
This is just another term that advertisers promote as being a "smart" thing to look for when making your selection. To make a fat-free product taste better, the fat is replaced with processed sugar, consequently not making it healthier by any means, or less caloric. Why should we be expected to read between the lines?
And since we've now brought up the "free-" labeling culture, when I think about what "free range" means, I picture a happy farm. However, free range means that the animal just has to have some exposure to the outdoors. Is that everything you thought that it meant?
"MADE WITH REAL FRUIT"
This is yet another term that marketers have a field day with. While they do have to list the nutrients, the label does not have to show what percentage of real fruit you are actually getting.
Thankfully, "organic", which used to be synonymous with "all natural", means that if it has a USDA label on it, 95% or more of the ingredients must have been grown or processed without synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. But this is not to be confused with a label that boasts "made with organic ingredients". That means it could be only a minimum of 70% of contents meeting the standards.
Food is a big business, and its production and cultivation sustain many economies, which is why the responsibility is on you to become as knowledgeable as you can about what you are putting into your precious body! There are many more that could be discussed, but the point here is that with Sakara, you don’t ever need to worry about a label again. The bigger message is to eat a plant-based diet as often as possible.
Do yourself a favor and be your own advocate: Spend the time in reading (S-Life's got your back), researching, sourcing locally and ordering your Sakara Life. You will feel intrinsically better -- the power is in your hands now!