Monday, January 23, 2012

Reminder: Read Ingredient Lists, Not Just Front Label Claims

Product labeling can be confusing, and often times misleading. One of the worst offenders are the packages of breakfast cereals, many of which are really just candy. Fiber content is championed as supreme, but you'll never find "A great source of refined sugars, artificial colors and pesticide-laden, genetically engineered corn and soy" on the box.

But even if you aren't buying junk food, vigilance is still necessary to avoid ingredients that you may not be 100 percent comfortable with. Instead of accepting the front-of-package "low fat" or "reduced sugar" declaration at face value, turn the product around and read the ingredient list, which, invariably, will expose the necessary changes.

Examples are two varieties of Heinz ketchup, Reduced Sugar and No Salt. The
Reduced Sugar version replaces the standard high fructose corn syrup and corn syrup (which some would consider sugar replacements as well) with sucralose. The No Salt drops salt in favor of a salt substitute, AlsoSalt.

Even if sucralose and AlsoSalt are safe, we should be aware of their presence. And, as I've written before, artificial ingredients may be safe when tested individually, but how do they react in our bodies when they come into contact with any of the hundreds (or is it thousands?) of other synthetic chemicals we are exposed to daily? Synergistic relationships are never tested.

If your family loves Heinz ketchup, try the organic version, which isn't much more expensive than the regular. With the organic, you'll avoid the dangerous fungicides used to grow conventional tomatoes and the genetically engineered corn used to make high fructose corn syrup.

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