How to Check Ingredient Lists and Make Better Food Decisions
If you couldn't feasibly make it yourself, you don't want to make it a staple of your diet.
This was advice given to me by my nutritionist, Amy, at Miramont Lifestyle Fitness. She recommended I ask myself, 'If I had the time, resources, and know-how, could I make this at home from scratch?'
The idea is that if you look at a cake, even if you don't know how to bake a cake, if it was made with eggs, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cream, and other things that cakes from scratch are made from, you could (someday maybe) make it at home.
Or, the honey, pictured above. Yeah, it would take some doing, but if you had a beehive and some time, you could create it yourself.
Natural foods; fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, even meats, while it can be good to check the sources and purity, are ok because they are grown. And if you lived in the right climate, had the time and the land, you could grow all of them yourself.
Look for foods that have pure ingredient lists, and stay away from those that have words you can't pronounce, don't know the meaning of and have no idea from where they might come.
Her example was hydrolyzed corn syrup. I could not make hydrolyzed corn syrup. I would need a special degree, maybe a lab and...a hyrdolyzer? I could not make monosodium glutamate. I don't know how to create phosphates or diglycerides or high fructose corn syrup. So, when I see foods with ingredients like that, she recommended I cut back on them, and replace them with foods that have ingredients that are closer to their natural sources. Stay with things that I recognize, and the purity of the foods I eat will do me some good.
Looking at the above picture (macaroni and cheese), there are many ingredients that are completely foreign to me. Sodium tripolyphosphate? Can I make that in a blender? No, I could not. So, it's better for me to stay away from it. If I want mac and cheese, I should find some that is made with real cheese, real cream, and more natural ingredients.
The thing is, I happen to think that Kraft makes the best mac and cheese on the planet. To this, Amy told me to make sure I don't eat too much of it. A little bit is okay. Once a month or less? No worries! Just don't live on foods that contain too many of these types of ingredients.
This is a general rule. Some ingredients made with unrecognizable scientific processes might not be bad for us. This is just a good way of thinking to have handy as you look at ingredient lists and make decisions.
What's even better are things that don't have a list on them(fruits and veggies!). You know what they are from looking at them. There is one ingredient, and you can eat as much of it as you want!