Why I Insist on a Clean Ingredients List


grocery shopping

During my twenties, I never used to read food labels. I would go down the supermarket aisles and fill my cart with products that seemed appealing. My diet staples back then included pudding and jello cups, ready-to-bake cookies, chips and crackers, and flavored yogurt. Just like so many other young adults,I consumed very little fresh produce, and I was completely unconcerned with the fact that I was buying a lot of processed foods, or that I didn’t really know what was in those processed foods.

When I became pregnant with my first child, in my late twenties, things have changed. I was aware of how important it was to feed my body with wholesome, pure foods. I started reading food labels,and I was appalled! So many of the processed foods I was used to buying contained artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, gums and starches and a whole lot of ingredients whose names I couldn’t even pronounce.

That’s when I started following the common advice given by nutritionists – stick to the outside perimeter of the supermarket,where the produce, dairy and meats are, and avoid the inside aisles,where the processed foods can be found. When buying processed foods, read the label carefully. Avoid additives,preservatives, trans fats and too much sugar. Try to stick with whole grains whenever possible. And the shorter the ingredients list,the better -it means the product is pure and does not need a lot of additives in order to be palatable.

I now insist on avoiding products that contain additives such as thickeners, preservatives, and flavorings. Why would I settle for an inferior product when there are natural, wholesome, pure products available? They may be a bit harder to find, and carefully examining food labels does require some extra effort, but my health, and my family’s health, is absolutely worth it.

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