Tip: Reading labels needn’t be about understanding the nutritional analysis table, but rather whether a product has good quality, healthy ingredients
How: When buying something in a packet, three simple considerations I make when looking at a food label can determine whether to immediately put it back on the shelf or look further:
- Is the list of ingredients so long that it surely can’t be a ‘naturally-based’ foodstuff? Just compare a meal or product you might make at home like a soup or cottage pie – would you have added the chemicals listed?
- Do some of these ingredients have names that are not identifiable as any food you know and therefore must be chemical? Start comparing similar products and you’ll soon notice which manufacturers tend to load up with chemicals for a longer shelf-life (that can make them cheaper) and heightened artificial flavour.
- Is some form of sugar up listed in the first three ingredients? These can be hidden as syrups, concentrated fruit juices or substances ending ‘-ose’ like dextrose or maltose – over 10g of ‘carbohydrates – of which sugar’ per 100g is too much.
Why: The odd snack bar with plenty of nuts and some sugar will have over 10g per 100g of sugar, but this can be the best choice within a generally healthy diet to stop a blood sugar dip. Convenience foods can help take the stress out of life if they are as close to ‘real food’ as possible.
- See our Supermarket Shopping Expert Support Special podcast
- See the Food Sources Guide in Chapter 6 of The De-Stress Diet
- See the Hidden Sugars table in Chapter 9 of The De-Stress Diet
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