LET'S GET FOOD-CONSCIOUS?!

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anitasharp5

Assistant Cook
Joined
Sep 13, 2022
Messages
24
Location
Los Angeles
How much attention do you pay to the ingredients list? Probably more than me, so let's talk about it!…
If you're someone like me, you're more than likely to go to the grocery store, find something that you like, it's tasty and filling, and you're all good, but on that occassion, you accidentally look at that ingredients list...
You suddenly start remembering what your parents said... If you can't pronounce it don't eat it or drink it.

In the comments below, are you more into finding out what ingredients you're putting into your body, or you don't care at all?
 

Andy M.

Certified Pretend Chef
Joined
Sep 1, 2004
Messages
49,625
Location
Massachusetts
I care some. I'm not a fanatic all-natural, organic, free range, person.

I look for ingredient lists that resemble a recipe for that item. For example, jams and preserves should have fruit and sugar as the first two items in the ingredient list. Milk, cream and sugar should lead the list of ingredients for ice cream.

I also steer clear of what I consider advertising based products. For example, I may buy a Black Angus steak but would not consider Black Angus ground beef.
 

blissful

Executive Chef
Joined
Mar 25, 2008
Messages
4,918
When we go grocery shopping we buy food, with no labels. A squash doesn't have a label, nor a tomato, nor a potato.

I've occasionally read labels to find food packaged with little or no oil, sugar, salt, or dairy in it. Things like bread, tortillas, tofu, almond milk, raisins (darned if they aren't coating them half the time with oil!), dried fruit, or nuts.

When traveling I looked for canned black beans, to find the kind that had little salt, no sugar in them.
I don't like having to take out my reading glasses AND a magnifying glass, to read those labels.

90% of what is sold in the grocery store is processed with added oil, sugar, salt, plus additives. I stick mostly to the produce aisle. The international aisle has beans and rice. The baking aisle whole wheat flour, yeast, and spices.

We do use sugar and salt, but only when we are serving ourselves, or making pickles.

It simplifies having to read all those disheartening labels, to just buy mostly unprocessed or minimally process food. When I order rice/beans/oats/grains/dried fruit/nuts, it is easier to read the labels online, than in the store, because I can magnify them. (or the trick of taking a picture with your cell phone and magnifying it)

After reading the labels, don't get too comfortable. The manufacturers change ingredients often. Although we thought we found a good brand of xyz, the next time we went to purchase it, they started adding additional unwanted ingredients. So it's going to be with us, this activity of reading labels, for now.
 

Chief Longwind Of The North

Certified/Certifiable
Joined
Aug 26, 2004
Messages
12,454
Location
USA,Michigan
Just remember, every substance, every element, every compound has a chemical name. some years bac, a hoax was published that labeled dihydrogen, oxide as a dangerous chemical additive to foods. The scan listed a host of ways that this chemical compound was dangerous. Even some politicians tried to ban its use. Abd so what is dihydrogen oxide, you may no it better as H20, or water. Just food for thought.

Seeeeya; Longwind of the North
 

taxlady

Chef Extraordinaire
Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Sep 13, 2010
Messages
28,815
Location
near Montreal, Quebec
I read labels. And as blissful pointed out, the manufacturers sometimes change the ingredients, so I stay vigilant.

There are some ingredients that are specifically a problem for me, so I have been reading ingredient labels for decades. I have also learned that most of the foods I enjoy, taste better with only food ingredients. Stabilizers and thickeners are often used in place of some more expensive ingredient. The more expensive ingredient usually tastes better. Some preservatives have unpleasant flavours or aftertastes.
 

Linda0818

Head Chef
Joined
Dec 5, 2018
Messages
1,310
Location
Columbus, Ohio
When I look at food labels, my eyes go directly to the calorie content 1st, saturated fat content 2nd. Fat and calories are the main things I pay the most attention to. As a diabetic, I also look at total sugars. However, I don't really pay all that much attention to the ingredients. It's not that I don't skim over the ingredients on occasion; it's just not something I make a habit of checking.
 

pepperhead212

Executive Chef
Joined
Nov 21, 2018
Messages
3,614
Location
Woodbury, NJ
I always look at labels of processed foods, when I buy them, and it's hard not to buy some. There are some I just haven't been able to make from scratch, as well as the better ones I buy - some long fermented and preserved things come to mind, like the many things from the Asian market, but I still check those labels, for preservatives. Many fish sauces and soy sauces have things besides the salt and basic ingredients, which point out to me that they are what I call "fake fish sauce" or "fake soy sauce" - something made by adding some enzymes and other ingredients (one ingredient to watch out for is hydrolyzed vegetable protein) to the basic ingredients, and the process is greatly speeded up, compared to the naturally fermented ones, that often take a couple of years to make.
 

anitasharp5

Assistant Cook
Joined
Sep 13, 2022
Messages
24
Location
Los Angeles
When we go grocery shopping we buy food, with no labels. A squash doesn't have a label, nor a tomato, nor a potato.

I've occasionally read labels to find food packaged with little or no oil, sugar, salt, or dairy in it. Things like bread, tortillas, tofu, almond milk, raisins (darned if they aren't coating them half the time with oil!), dried fruit, or nuts.

When traveling I looked for canned black beans, to find the kind that had little salt, no sugar in them.
I don't like having to take out my reading glasses AND a magnifying glass, to read those labels.

90% of what is sold in the grocery store is processed with added oil, sugar, salt, plus additives. I stick mostly to the produce aisle. The international aisle has beans and rice. The baking aisle whole wheat flour, yeast, and spices.

We do use sugar and salt, but only when we are serving ourselves, or making pickles.

It simplifies having to read all those disheartening labels, to just buy mostly unprocessed or minimally process food. When I order rice/beans/oats/grains/dried fruit/nuts, it is easier to read the labels online, than in the store, because I can magnify them. (or the trick of taking a picture with your cell phone and magnifying it)

After reading the labels, don't get too comfortable. The manufacturers change ingredients often. Although we thought we found a good brand of xyz, the next time we went to purchase it, they started adding additional unwanted ingredients. So it's going to be with us, this activity of reading labels, for now.
Okay, wow @blissful I need to start implementing this more... Everything you say is so true, I hope someday I can leave all the processed foods out!
 

anitasharp5

Assistant Cook
Joined
Sep 13, 2022
Messages
24
Location
Los Angeles
I always look at labels of processed foods, when I buy them, and it's hard not to buy some. There are some I just haven't been able to make from scratch, as well as the better ones I buy - some long fermented and preserved things come to mind, like the many things from the Asian market, but I still check those labels, for preservatives. Many fish sauces and soy sauces have things besides the salt and basic ingredients, which point out to me that they are what I call "fake fish sauce" or "fake soy sauce" - something made by adding some enzymes and other ingredients (one ingredient to watch out for is hydrolyzed vegetable protein) to the basic ingredients, and the process is greatly speeded up, compared to the naturally fermented ones, that often take a couple of years to make.
I agree @pepperhead212 it is super hard to not buy processed foods! Thanks so much for your response.
 

anitasharp5

Assistant Cook
Joined
Sep 13, 2022
Messages
24
Location
Los Angeles
When I look at food labels, my eyes go directly to the calorie content 1st, saturated fat content 2nd. Fat and calories are the main things I pay the most attention to. As a diabetic, I also look at total sugars. However, I don't really pay all that much attention to the ingredients. It's not that I don't skim over the ingredients on occasion; it's just not something I make a habit of checking.
Thanks @Linda0818 I also look more at the calorie content, ingredient list always comes last, I want to make it more of a habit and as important as looking at the calorie content.
 

blissful

Executive Chef
Joined
Mar 25, 2008
Messages
4,918
Thanks @Linda0818 I also look more at the calorie content, ingredient list always comes last, I want to make it more of a habit and as important as looking at the calorie content.
I look at the ingredients list, first and foremost. It's easier for me to figure out what I'm eating.

If you are going with the nutrition label, you might want to choose a goal for your day. Like a % of calories from fat, or something similar.
It gets complicated.

First-in whether you actually eat one serving or 3, depending on how big or small the serving might be on that label.

Second-So let's say you eat about 2000 calories a day. You might want to limit calories from fat to 36% of the diet, for the standard american diet. That is a total of 80 grams per day. Or say a low fat diet, say, 10% calories from fat, then 22 grams per day. Or pick something in the middle, between 22 to 80 grams in a day, to get you where you want to be.

You could do the same with trying to get enough fiber in a day, say 25 or 30 grams, the RDA amount. With the nutrition label, there's so much adding/dividing/multiplying to figure it out, most people don't keep track or set a goal.

What you can know, is that food has more than enough protein if you are eating 2000 calories per day. That most natural foods contain enough fat that adding more is not necessary. And that plants have fiber so if you are eating any minimally or unprocessed plant food, you are getting some fiber.

If the nutrition label is still your 'go-to', consider using cronometer.com a free computer or phone application where you can enter in all the foods you eat, and see how you are doing with all your goals of fiber/protein/fats, vitamins and minerals.
 

anitasharp5

Assistant Cook
Joined
Sep 13, 2022
Messages
24
Location
Los Angeles
I look at the ingredients list, first and foremost. It's easier for me to figure out what I'm eating.

If you are going with the nutrition label, you might want to choose a goal for your day. Like a % of calories from fat, or something similar.
It gets complicated.

First-in whether you actually eat one serving or 3, depending on how big or small the serving might be on that label.

Second-So let's say you eat about 2000 calories a day. You might want to limit calories from fat to 36% of the diet, for the standard american diet. That is a total of 80 grams per day. Or say a low fat diet, say, 10% calories from fat, then 22 grams per day. Or pick something in the middle, between 22 to 80 grams in a day, to get you where you want to be.

You could do the same with trying to get enough fiber in a day, say 25 or 30 grams, the RDA amount. With the nutrition label, there's so much adding/dividing/multiplying to figure it out, most people don't keep track or set a goal.

What you can know, is that food has more than enough protein if you are eating 2000 calories per day. That most natural foods contain enough fat that adding more is not necessary. And that plants have fiber so if you are eating any minimally or unprocessed plant food, you are getting some fiber.

If the nutrition label is still your 'go-to', consider using cronometer.com a free computer or phone application where you can enter in all the foods you eat, and see how you are doing with all your goals of fiber/protein/fats, vitamins and minerals.
This is a whole new world @blissful thanks so much for taking the time and sending through all these recommendations! I will definitely keep them in mind!
 

taxlady

Chef Extraordinaire
Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Sep 13, 2010
Messages
28,815
Location
near Montreal, Quebec
Thanks @Linda0818 I also look more at the calorie content, ingredient list always comes last, I want to make it more of a habit and as important as looking at the calorie content.
I often forget to look at the nutrition facts panel. I have had the habit of checking ingredient lists since some time in the early 1970s. That was how I noticed that Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce contains anchovies. I was a vegetarian at the time, so I found a brand that didn't have any anchovy.
 

anitasharp5

Assistant Cook
Joined
Sep 13, 2022
Messages
24
Location
Los Angeles
I often forget to look at the nutrition facts panel. I have had the habit of checking ingredient lists since some time in the early 1970s. That was how I noticed that Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce contains anchovies. I was a vegetarian at the time, so I found a brand that didn't have any anchovy.
@taxlady so important to keep these little details in mind. Makes a huge difference in the end!
 

pepperhead212

Executive Chef
Joined
Nov 21, 2018
Messages
3,614
Location
Woodbury, NJ
@anitasharp5 I don't know how "intolerant" you are of the gluten, but something that people that are very allergic to certain foods look closely on the labels for disclaimers, which are basically stating that the foods are not in the "ingredients", but the place where the particular item is produced, may also produce things with wheat, soy, peanuts, and/or tree nuts. Another thing to watch labels for.
 

taxlady

Chef Extraordinaire
Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Sep 13, 2010
Messages
28,815
Location
near Montreal, Quebec
@anitasharp5 I don't know how "intolerant" you are of the gluten, but something that people that are very allergic to certain foods look closely on the labels for disclaimers, which are basically stating that the foods are not in the "ingredients", but the place where the particular item is produced, may also produce things with wheat, soy, peanuts, and/or tree nuts. Another thing to watch labels for.
Isn't that right after the ingredients? Here in Canada I always see the "May contain" list there.
 
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