The food we eat has a profound impact on our health. Eating a healthy diet can help us maintain a healthy weight, reduce our risk of chronic diseases, and improve our overall well-being. But how do we know if the foods we're eating are actually healthy?
That's where food labels come in. Food labels provide important information about the nutrients in a food, such as calories, fat, sodium, sugar, and fiber. By understanding food labels, we can make informed choices about the foods we eat and improve our overall health.
Identifying Harmful Ingredients
Food labels provide valuable information about ingredients, helping us identify harmful substances like artificial additives, preservatives, high sodium levels, unhealthy fats, or excessive sugar. Here are some ingredients to watch out for:
Artificial colors: Tartrazine (Yellow 5) is commonly found in soft drinks, flavored chips, and various snack foods. Allura Red (Red 40) is commonly found in candies, desserts, sauces, and beverages. All have been associated with allergic reactions, hypersensitivity, and behavioral issues. Other coloring additives include Yellow 6, Blue 1, and Red 3.
High fructose corn syrup: A sweetener derived from cornstarch commonly found in processed foods and beverages. This can lead to a load of health problems, including obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, increase risk of metabolic syndrome, liver damage, and heart disease.
Hydrogenated oils: Also known as trans fats, are created by adding hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils, which results in more solid and stable fat. Mainly used to extend the shelf life of certain products and their texture. You can find this ingredient in baked goods, fried foods, processed snacks, and non-dairy creamers. The negative health effects include heart disease, inflammation, obesity, and impaired blood vessel functions
Making Healthier Decisions:
Food labels enable us to monitor nutrition and make informed choices. They display serving sizes, calories, macronutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Understanding labels helps manage portion sizes, control calories, and ensure a balanced diet. We can also make healthier choices by selecting higher fiber or lower sodium options.
One Habit at a Time
Just practicing one to a couple of lifestyle habits a day is a great start to preventing future chronic diseases. Give yourself the opportunity to live life with the purpose of experiencing new adventures. The reason many people tend to stop working on their habits is due to trying to do too much all at once. Be patient and take it one habit at a time, whether that is eating healthy and less, daily exercise, quitting bad habits, getting a routine checkup, or being positive. Take a chance today to Live It Up!