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Healthy Food Choices

14‐02‐16

Do you run around the supermarket in a mad rush like me? Do you ever think you should take more time to check if the food you’re putting in the trolley really is healthy? But you just don’t have the time?

Well we’ve got some quick and easy tips for you, so you can now quickly sort the good from the bad and make better food choices for your health and the health of your loved ones.

Ingredients from a laboratory

There’s some ingredients that just shouldn’t be used in food production. But unfortunately, what’s more important to many food manufacturers than your health is that the food lasts for years on the shelf, looks unnaturally perfect and of course is very cheap to produce.

So, unnatural (or at least heavily procchemist laboratoryessed), strange sounding ingredients and additives such as humectants, emulsifiers, glutamates, aspartame and so on are added to achieve a certain flavour, texture or chemical result that the manufacturer is aiming for.

But these confusing and strange sounding names should act as a giveaway. If you don’t understand what they are, if you need a degree in chemistry to decipher the ingredient list, and these things just don’t sound like food, then they probably aren’t!

Our tip: if you see an ingredient that you cannot pronounce or don’t understand what it is, put the packet back on the shelf and look for a healthier choice.

Hidden sugars

When reading ingredient labels, many people rightfully look for added sugar to make sure they’re not loading up on the sweet stuff. But its not that simple! There are many different forms of sugar and equally lots of different names for it.

In fact, there are over 50 different names for sugar used in food labelling. Yes, its unbelievable what can be done to confuse consumers into thinking they’re buying products without added sugar, or maybe something that might be seen as a healthier form.

Our tip: learn some of the more common names for sugar (eg sucrose, glucose, evaporated cane juice, multodextrin, fruit juice concentrate, malt syrup), and be wary of products with multiple different types of sugar added.

Read more about this in our recent blog, The Top 5 Dirty Secrets of Food Marketers.

Long ingredient lists

Have you ever looked at an ingredient list and been scared away from even trying to understand it as it was 4 or 5 lines long! So why does a product need a long, confusing list of 20+ ingredients?

Well, its normally because the product starts with a bunch of cheap, heavily processed, clinically dead ingredients. They have no flavour, no nutritional value, and are just plain belly fillers.

So sugars, colours, flavours, manufactured vitamins and minerals, the works are added back to make it somewhat palatable. Does this sound tempting? Many breakfast cereals come to mind here, so pay special attention to these next time you pick up a box.

Our tip: the fewer the ingredients the better. Healthy food does not need to have a long list of vitamins and minerals added back to it, they should be there in the first place.

Our top tip for making healthy food choices

vegetablesWe suggest following the 3 key points made above:
1. avoid ingredients you’ve never heard of or can’t pronounce.
2. watch out for hidden sugars
3. be wary of excessively long ingredient lists

But if you want just one thing that capture's all of this, one thing that's easy to remember and will be your guiding principle.  Then its JERF! That's right, Just Eat Real Food! Healthy food is simple, minimally processed and natural, so if you JERF, then you can’t go wrong!

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