Tips for reading ingredients labels

1. Remember that ingredients are listed in order of their proportion in the product. This means the first 3 ingredients matter far more than anything else. The top 3 ingredients are what you’re primarily eating.

2. If the ingredients list contains long, chemical-sounding words that you can’t pronounce, avoid that item. It likely does contain various toxic chemicals. Why would you want to eat them? Stick with ingredients you recognize.

3. Don’t be fooled by fancy-sounding herbs or other ingredients that appear very far down the list. Some food manufacturer that includes “goji berries” towards the end of the list is probably just using it as a marketing gimmick on the label. The actual amount of goji berries in the product is likely miniscule.

4. Remember that ingredients lists don’t have to list chemical contaminants. Foods can be contaminated with pesticides, solvents, acrylamides, PFOA, perchlorate (rocket fuel) and other toxic chemicals without needing to list them at all. The best way to minimize your ingestion of toxic chemicals is to buy organic, or go with fresh, minimally-processed foods.

5. Look for words like “sprouted” or “raw” to indicate higher-quality natural foods. Sprouted grains and seeds are far healthier than non-sprouted. Raw ingredients are generally healthier than processed or cooked. Whole grains are healthier than “enriched” grains.

6. Don’t be fooled by the word “wheat” when it comes to flour. All flour derived from wheat can be called “wheat flour,” even if it is processed, bleached and stripped of its nutrition. Only “whole grain wheat flour” is a healthful form of wheat flour. (Many consumers mistakenly believe that “wheat flour” products are whole grain products. In fact, this is not true. Food manufacturers fool consumers with this trick.)

7. Don’t be fooled into thinking that brown products are healthier than white products. Brown sugar is a gimmick — it’s just white sugar with brown coloring and flavoring added. Brown eggs are no different than white eggs (except for the fact that their shells appear brown). Brown bread may be no healthier than white bread, either, unless it’s made with whole grains. Don’t be tricked by “brown” foods. These are just gimmicks used by food giants to fool consumers into paying more for manufactured food products.

8. Watch out for deceptively small serving sizes. Food manufacturers use this trick to reduce the number of calories, grams of sugar or grams of fat believed to be in the food by consumers. Many serving sizes are arbitrary and have no basis in reality.

9. Want to know how to really shop for foods? Download our free Honest Food Guide, the honest reference to foods that has now been downloaded by over 800,000 people. It’s a replacement for the USDA’s highly corrupt and manipulated Food Guide Pyramid, which is little more than a marketing document for the dairy industry and big food corporations. The Honest Food Guide is an independent, nutritionally-sound reference document that reveals exactly what to eat (and what to avoid) to maximize your health.

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