Tuesday Tip: Take the time to read ingredients labels

Check it twice

Check it twice

This post is something I’ve had on the backburner to talk about and Olga helped push it to the forefront! :D  She just happened to be reading the ingredient list on her box of All Bran when she discovered it had High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) in it.  Naturally she was shocked because, hello, it’s All Bran.  HFCS shouldn’t be anywhere near that stuff and yet there it was.

Ingredient lists can be an interesting thing and they haven’t been mandatory in the US for all that long.  I actually remember when it started getting more focus and companies were grumbling because they didn’t want to list all the ingredients on the package.  Sort of leaves you feeling a bit uneasy, doesn’t it?  However, my Google-Fu is failing me and I can’t find out exactly when listing ingredients came into effect.  If you know, please share!

Ingredients are listed by weight and this is true no matter what you’re looking at (I actually discovered this information when I was researching dog foods and was shocked to find that typically corn or some other filler was first in the list.), people food or pet food.  This means that the first ingredient on the list makes up the majority of the product you are reading about.  A good rule of thumb is that the first 3-5 ingredients listed on the package are generally what the product consists of.  If sugar is listed as one of the top ingredients, bad news.  And by sugar, I mean refined white sugar, corn syrup, or  HFCSHFCS is just bad all around, I don’t care what the corn growers tell you.

I have now taken to reading ingredient lists all the time because I want to know what I’m eating and I want to avoid sneaky companies who throw HFCS in things where it has no business being.  I want to be able to pronounce everything in the list or at least recognize it as something benign.  Some things I’ll look up if I already have the product at home.  Other things I’ll put back on the shelf if the ingredient list doesn’t sit right with me.  I also want the ingredient list to be short and not something that takes up the entire side of the box.  If I get bored while reading the list, the list is too long.  I do this for our food and for any treats I buy Rocky.

You know those people who stand in the grocery aisles looking and reading over everything?  Become one of those people.  Take the time to read ingredient lists on the stuff you eat.  You may learn something you didn’t know before.

9 thoughts on “Tuesday Tip: Take the time to read ingredients labels

  1. …and don’t necessarily trust the labels on packaging. The last loaf of 100% whole wheat bread I bought touts no HFCS, which is true enough (and no sugar was used at all that I can see), but then at the end it lists soy flour and says it contains a ‘trivial amount.’ To me that means that it isn’t 100% whole wheat, but maybe I’m quibbling.

  2. special k says:

    I honestly don’t remember a time when food labels didn’t exist in Canada, and I’m kinda old, so they’ve definitely been around awhile. Are they really so recent development (relatively speaking) in the U.S. I find that astonishing, given that cosmetics in the U.S. are required to have ingredients labels (and yet? Not so much in Canada).

  3. I remember my mom telling me about it when it started, but I don’t remember exactly when. Given the memory I have of it, I’m going to guess sometime in the 70’s.

    Don’t hold me to that tho, as my Google-Fu is not strong this morning either…..

    T.

    ps if i can remember to take them to work i’ll send your bowls out today!!! t.

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