Decoding the Ingredients List: Chemistry 101

Posted in Nutrition Labels

It’s the law. All food products sold in the U.S. must have an ingredients label that lists the stuff inside in order from most to least. It should also be a law that consumers READ these labels – and understand them – before buying and eating a product.

Since our elected leaders have more on their minds these days, it’s up to you to make label reading a habit. By reading the ingredients list of your favorite foods you’re taking an all-important first step to ensuring that you’re making the healthiest choices for you and your family!

The ingredients list tells a shopper what’s in the food item you are about to purchase and consume. It also helps you to spot sneaky chemical additives that we have labeled as “junk ingredients.”

I know what some of you more label-savvy readers are thinking: “Thanks, Captain of the Obvious, we know all about that. What we don’t know is how to quickly spot the ‘junk ingredients’ that manufacturers are mixing into our foods!”


Reality Check

For your reading and dining pleasure, here’s the eBrandAid 3-step rule of thumb for quickly decoding any ingredients list:

  • First, quick-scan the ingredients list. If the list is super long it’s a safe bet that the food item is packed with all kinds of junk ingredients.label_lessons_mainimage
  • Next, look for words that you can’t pronounce or terms that sound like something from your ninth-grade chemistry textbook. This is yet another clue that there are chemical additives that might be harmful to your health.
  • Last, be sure to pay attention to the first three ingredients listed. Manufacturers list ingredients in order from most to least, meaning the first few ingredients usually make up the bulk of the food item. Therefore, if the first few ingredients are junk ingredients, then that’s exactly what you’re getting…PURE JUNK!

The Lesson

It’s important to read the ingredients list, especially on packaged foods that are seemingly healthy. You’ll probably find that you’re consuming a lot more chemicals than you think.

But don’t panic. Instead, jump on the  eBrandAid “brand wagon!” Opt for brands that are mainly created from real, whole food, quality ingredients, not from long lists of chemicals that you can’t pronounce. Your health and your waistline will thank you for it.

Remember, when you’re armed with a little eBrandAid know-how, you’re in control at the grocery store.

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In Our Opinion: The information contained in the eBrandAid e-newsletters is strictly based on the opinions of the eBrand Doctors. We have created a set of guidelines that we believe will help shoppers to better understand and decode food labels on products found in most grocery stores. Our mission is to help shoppers find the healthier brands that have the least amount of chemicals and other junk ingredients.

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