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I often find myself a little mesmerised in the isles of the supermarkets these days. There are so many products to choose from including the growing range of ‘health foods’ available. But how do we trust ourselves (because we can’t always trust marketing, packaging, labels and the agendas of business) to pick items that are in fact, healthy options?

From energy crashes, weight gain, microbiome disruption, cancers, mental health issues, behavioural and developmental diagnosis in children, it is imperative to minimise exposures to artificial ingredients. We should also keep sugar intake low and real food intake high.

Quick Tips on Reading Labels 

Here are some quick tips as far as what you can look for. These will help you feel confident that what you are buying will support nourishment and good health.

Sugars – Naturally occurring sugars in fruits, vegetables, dairy and grain won’t be listed as types of sugar on the ingredients list. However, ADDED sugars will be. Try and familiarise yourself with the other names that companies will try disguise sugar as. Additionally, aim to buy products that have none or only one of these added sugars. Also make sure the added sugar isn’t listed as one of the top ingredients.

Additives and chemicals – Unfortunately there is still a long list of ‘ingredients’ that shouldn’t be making it into our food chain but still are. Look out for products which include the following and are all pro-inflammatory, disruptive to our microbiome and endocrine (hormonal) system: numbers (ie: yellow5, 222, 112), soy protein isolate, carrageen and nitrate/nitrites.

Wholefoods – can you recognise any real foods on the product label? I recommend choosing products where most if not all of the ingredients you understand as a whole food.

Melanie Sinclair

Melanie Sinclair is a Holistic Nutritionist