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If you’re anything like us, the nutrition label on any food item is stressful to look at. The packaging can be quite deceiving on the front, depicting words like “natural” and “healthy”. So, instead of wondering what these labels mean, which can sometimes feel like you’re reading a foreign language, we decided to help you decode the information.

Check out some things you should know about the nutrition label below; it should make your life easier once you’re done reading it!


  1. Labels Are Allowed To Be Dishonest

”Natural Flavors” aren’t natural. “Natural flavors” means that at some point in the product’s life, there were ingredients that are derived from food items like fruit, meat, fish. However, it also means that they were manipulated in a lab at some point. The food labeling regulations from the FDA allow for a 20% margin of error.

  1. Watch Out For Hidden Sugars

Generally speaking, if you’re buying something in a box, there is likely sugar in it. Corn syrup, rice syrup Words that end in “ose” – there’s sugar in that. So next time you’re looking to buy a protein bar, be sure to look for those three letters.

  1. Any Allergies?

A lot of people don’t know it, but they are actually allergic to some of the ingredients slipped into the food labels to make the food taste better but aren’t necessary to the product. MSG, or monosodium glutamate, is an example of this. As we age, this ingredient can have a bigger impact on our bodies as it is toxic. Some symptoms include headache, sweating, and pressure in the face. So, be aware of the way your body is reacting to certain foods.

  1. Let’s Talk Preservatives

These are chemicals that give the product a better shelf life. Preservatives make the food last longer but take away the nutritional value of the food item. They are always listed last on the ingredients on the label because they are not very appetizing words. For example, when you see the following, that is a preservative: sorbic acid, sodium sorbate, sorbates, benzoic acid, sodium benzoate, benzoates. You’ll commonly see these ingredients in cheese, pickles, salad dressing, jams, and more.  

  1. The Good Stuff

If you see the USDA organic seal, the product is certified organic and has 95 percent or more organic content. On top of that, there are certain ingredients that you’re going to want to start looking for before you put anything in your cart. Let’s keep this simple and cut to the chase here. You want less of these ingredients: saturated fats, trans fats, sodium, and sugar. However, you want more of these: fiber, vitamin A, Calcium, iron, and protein.

The reality is all you can do is try your best. We are surrounded by secrets in our food at all times, which is not our fault. All we can do is inform ourselves and begin to craft a grocery list that mostly fits our healthy food criteria. What we can’t do is spend our lives worrying about each and every little ingredient on the nutrition label and cut out the things we enjoy all together. But we can do our best to care for our bodies.


You know what they say…everything in moderation.


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