It is all very confusing when you are faced with advertising and food labeling, advocating ‘Natural’, “Organic”, “wholefood”, “fat-free” and more colorful words to make you more interested. All these labels have most people throwing their arms in the air in frustration.
In my opinion there are not many packaged foods that are healthy. Most have had any nutriment cooked or heated out of them. ultimately the most healthiest food is the least processed. Basically anything that is not pulled fresh from the garden, home-grown meat, like chickens and cows etc is not Naturally and automatically healthy because it says so.
The word natural is totally misleading, it can be derived from a plant or animal but be assured it has been altered in some form or another.
The Governing food police in any country will assure you that any food coloring or additives approved by them will be safe. Safe yes but healthy? Probably not. I think there is a big difference.
The words that are usually displayed on packaged goods in big colorful letters like “fat-free” or “Sugar Free” usually will contain artificial sweeteners that are actually harmful. Aspartame is one, which is also known as 951 or sold commercially as nutrisweet. Aspartame has been linked with many health problems like asthma seizures, memory loss gradual weight gain, dizziness, insomnia multiple sclerosis and depression (The chemical maze by Bill Statham).
The interesting thing is the advertising on the packaging is always colorful, large print and on pretty pictures, but when it comes to reading what is exactly in the product, it is often, hard to find the ingredients list and the print is so small if you don’t have your glasses it is impossible to read. I sometimes have to ask someone in the store to read it to me as usually I don’t have my glasses with me. My Moto is if I can not read the ingredients because the print is not clear or big enough, I will not buy it because they do that for a reason I am sure. By law they must tell you what is in the product but I guess the law does not require them to print the information in large print or a color that is readable.
Most of us are not aware of the meanings of a lot of the nutritional labels and jargon, so here is a list of some of them and their meaning.
BIODYNAMIC – This is a very interesting and unusual farming alternative. Biodynamic farming improves soil fertility using compost, mineral fertilisers, cover crops and organic materials.
FREE-RANGE – This does not guarantee the nutritional value, but is a practice whereby animals that provide meat, or eggs are allowed the follow their natural behaviour as much as is possible.
GLUTEN-FREE – Eliminating such ingredients as wheat, barley, rye and oats; the real benefit is to those sensitive or allergic to gluten.
GLYCAEMIC INDEX (GI) – Measures the effects of carbohydrates on blood sugar levels. Favourable lower GI indicates slower rate of digestion and release of glucose.
GMO – “GMO – Free” indicates no genetically modified organisms are present. It is considered important to stay away from these type of foods if possible.
ORGANIC – Organic farming produces hight-quality foods without the use of artificial fertilisers or synthetic chemicals. Based on improving the health of the soil where the produce is grown.
PASTEURISATION– Commonly refers to the heating of milk to remove pathogenic bacteria and prevent souring. It is argued that raw milk is the healthier option, although legally it is not allowed to be sold for consumption in most countries. My children always drank raw milk as young children, I believe it to be the best and seems they have strong bone and muscle structure so did them no harm. It’s all a matter of choice.
PROBIOTICS – Commonly found in foods like yoghurt, probiotic are good bacteria for your gut that ultimately strengthen your immune system.
PROCESSED – It is food that has been altered from its natural state for reasons of safety and convenience by canning, freezing, refrigeration, dehydration and aseptic processing (which keeps food sterile).
WHOLEFOODS – Foods made with non-processed “whole” ingredients, such as egg as opposed to egg extracts.