Reading and understanding processed food labels. What's in the ingredients list? How to find sugar on the label.

When you see the label All Natural on a package of processed food, it doesn’t mean much.

Another day of supermarket sleuthing yields yet more sugar in the form of a double hit of maltodextrin. Yum! So, how many of you actually keep maltodextrin stocked in your pantry? It’s highly processed, but not synthetic, so products that contain it can proclaim themselves all natural.

Double dose maltodextrin

Quinoa and brown rice sounds great, and there’s that 100% natural label, so I know there are no synthetic chemicals. But is it healthy?  Is it made out of things you’d use in your own kitchen?

maltodextrin1

 

Let’s look at the label.  What are those “other natural flavors?”

maltodextrinlabel

 

Here we get a double dose of maltodextrin: once as maltodextrin and once as tapioca maltodextrin.  Would someone who loved you, say, your mom, put maltodextrin in your food?  How about yeast extract? Food processors are using that as a flavor enhancer in place of MSG.

Do your own sleuthing and read the labels.  If you see anything you don’t recognize, or items that people never cook with at home, put it back. Go buy a cookbook or look up recipes online and start cooking.  You won’t miss the maltodextrin, I promise!

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