Here's Why You Need To Be Reading Food Labels

Do You Really Know What You're Eating?

by: Alex Thom
Reading food labels may shock you!

Label-reading isn't just for the allergic folks of the world (although, admittedly, we do take it to another level). You should read every label, every time, because I'm betting you'd be surprised about some of the ingredients in foods you eat regularly! Chemical additives, unexpected fats and sugars, things we can't even pronounce . . . it's all in the food we're eating.

When my daughter was just starting kindergarten, I was in the yogurt aisle reading all the packages of yogurts—tubes, mini containers, large containersthere were a million options! Some had cute cartoons on them, drawing kids in with fun packaging. And I totally saw the appeal, but wanted to know what was in them. The vast majority were packed full of sugars, colouring, and fillers (like cornstarch). You know what you should find in packaged yogurt? Milk products and bacterial culture. And maybe some fruit. Maybe. A woman shopping next to me asked why I was reading the labels, and I explained to her that I was checking ingredients, sugar and fat content. She had no idea how to interpret what she read. 

You need to know this. You need to read and understand food labels. You need to be aware of what you're eating.

I'm not going to tell you that we don't choose those crappy yogurt treats on occasion. We absolutely do. But we're not under the illusion that they're healthy options. Being aware helps us make those decisions however we feel fit. And I won't even tell you what I consider to be "healthy," because it will vary widely from the next person and I'm not a nutritionist, for sure. But I do know that having awareness about food labels isn't just for the allergic people out there.

When grocery shopping this week, I wanted to buy raisins for my son's morning oatmeal. I am used to reading labels for both nutrition and allergy information, but what I read on these raisins was a surprise even to me.

Do you know what should be in a package of raisins? RAISINS. 

So not only are there added oils and sulphites, these may also contain a host of allergens, so they didn't come home in my cart today.

Read the labels. Read the signs. Know where your food comes from and what's in it, and don't assume anything.

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