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Do You Know What is in Your Foods

Updated on September 21, 2015

Food Labels Tell the Story!

From the Label to the Table!
From the Label to the Table!
Food provides your body with all of the materials it needs to grow, and to be healthy and active.
Food provides your body with all of the materials it needs to grow, and to be healthy and active.

All of us Die, But Some of Us Live

Think back to what you had for dinner last night. Try to remember everything on your plate -- the protein, the carbohydrates and the fat.

What is in food?

Food provides your body with all of the materials it needs to grow, and to be healthy and active. These are some of the building blocks in food.

CARBOHYDRATES are the body's main source of fuel. Starchy foods like breads, spaghetti, rice, potatoes, corn and cereals are made up mostly of carbohydrates. Sugary foods like candy, jam and syrups also are carbohydrates. Some carbohydrates, called fiber or roughage, are hard to digest. They help move waste through the digestive system.

FATS include butter, margarine, lard, shortening, and cooking oil. Cheese, cream, chocolate, some meats and many desserts have a lot of fat. Fats are very concentrated sources of energy, so only a little is needed.

PROTEINS, are important for growth and repair of the body. Protein-rich foods include eggs, milk products, meat, dried beans, chicken, turkey, and fish. The body also can use protein as fuel for movement and growth.

MINERALS are found in small amounts in foods. They are needed for many of the body's functions. For example, calcium is used to build bones and teeth, and also is important for muscles and the nervous system. Iron becomes part of red blood cells.

VITAMINS are other chemicals found naturally in food. They are needed in very small amounts by the body.

Where did the food come from?

If your food came from a box, did you read the label first and if so, did you understand all the ingredients? The fact is most of us either do not know or do not want to know where our food comes from. To many of us, food is something that can be found in a box, thrown in the microwave and consumed in front of the TV.

Is it a whole food or is it processed?

An example is white bread is processed by taking a fabulous piece of wheat and stripping it of the bran and the germ; two components responsible for providing fiber and B vitamins. What is left is the endosperm. In this example, food (wheat) has been stripped to make something else (white bread).

"Whole" foods are foods that have not been processed or altered prior to "packaging" and may include meat, poultry, fish, fruits, vegetables, legumes, seeds and nuts. Meat, poultry and fish that are considered "whole" are those that were provided natural feed (grass as opposed to corn for a cow), provided ample space and humane living conditions, and void of antibiotics, hormones or coloring. Plant-based foods are the most easily identifiable whole foods available for consumption.

Foods Labeled “Natural” Should Not Contain Synthetic Food Dyes.

Recent studies have linked synthetic food dyes with hyperactivity in children and even with cancer—enough to cause CSPI to call for a ban on synthetic dyes (ones that appear with a number after them, such as Blue 1 and 2 or Yellow 5 and 6) recently. This does not mean all our food will become duller: plenty of natural colorants abound.

Decoding the Current Food Label

Foods that do not have a label are usually the healthiest. Your local produce section would top this list with all of its cancer-fighting phytochemicals. None of the items here will have a label. The more ingredients a food has, the higher the chances that it has been processed.

Avoid food that lists any of the following among the first five ingredients:

  • Saturated fats (on labels most would be displayed as plant-based saturated fats such as palm or cottonseed oils).
  • Trans fat (anything containing partially hydrogenated oils).
  • Simple sugars and syrups such as high fructose corn syrup, cane juice, honey, etc.
  • Simple carbohydrates.
  • If sodium is above 600 mg per serving, put it down (you should limit your sodium consumption to 1500mg to 2300mg daily).
  • If the ingredient label contains several words you cannot pronounce, it means it's full of food additives and most likely not good for you.

Watch Out for These Ingredients That Sound Healthier Than They Are

1. Fruit Juice Concentrates

What it is: An alias for added sugars, which supply calories but little to no nutritional value.

2. Soybean Oil

What it is: A plant-derived oil is high in omega-6 fats, which compete in your body with healthy omega-3 fats (the kind that benefit your heart and brain).

3. Palm Oil

What it is: Oils derived from the fruits of palm trees.

Why you should watch out: Now that the heart-damaging effects of trans fats (hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils) are widely known, many food manufacturers are replacing them with palm oil. Palm oil is trans-fat-free, about half of its fat is saturated, adding about 1.5 grams sat fat to each 2-tablespoon serving.

4. Wheat Flour

What it is: Refined wheat flour, also a synonym for white or all-purpose flour.

Why you should watch out: Wheat flour is different from “whole-wheat flour.” Wheat/white flour contains barely any fiber, vitamins, or minerals, the building blocks of healthy food.

Be educated. We are what we eat. All of us die, but a few of us live…


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    • arthurchappell profile image

      arthurchappell 6 years ago from Manchester, England

      good well researched knowledgable blog

    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA


      Thanks for your comments.

    • katiem2 profile image

      katiem2 6 years ago from I'm outta here

      I'm always very consciencious about what I put into my body. I'm a Vegetarian who opts for organic when available, I know, how organic is it? It amazes me what some people put into their bodies. I know one day I'll age and live. WE get old and we LIVE while were old. I expect to enjoy the best quality of golden years possible. Love this article and the awareness is supports. Love and Peace :)

    • anglnwu profile image

      anglnwu 6 years ago

      Thanks for the information. I always read labels and your hub is useful in clarifying the terms used. Rated useful.

    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA


      To be informed, one can make better decisions... Thanks for the information and rating "useful."

    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA


      Your "awareness" shows... I want to be among those who choose to live while we are all dying...

      Thanks for your comments.

    • msorensson profile image

      msorensson 6 years ago

      Oh..I have to admit to being more careful with food when my son was little. These days, I am just happy if I remember to eat, but thank you. You did a great job.

    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA


      We are what we eat...

      Breathe in, breathe out...

      Live each moment, celebrating the process!

    • Darlene Sabella profile image

      Darlene Sabella 6 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

      Yes my friend, after my daughter got this serious breast cancer, we went on a reseasrch project that boggles my mind. I have changes so much, and it's so hard because good food is expensive and I am on a limited income. However, I gag on most meat, canned foods, box food, and anythink cooked in the micro wave. I am learning to cook freash and organic. The stange thing about this is that I wrote an hub about this and some of our findings, and it is the lowest read hub in my people want to read about blood and gore but not about health, um strange. Love this hub, rate you way up, love & peace darski

    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA


      Your comments are always appreciated.

      Microwave products are creating a nagging suspicion - there is something going on that we are not aware of. An example: Water placed in two identical potted plants with one plant receiving exclusively water that has been placed in the microwave and heated, then cooled and applied to the one specified "treated" plant does not thrive as well as the "normal" water plant...

      Another anomaly: Water heated in a microwave and then frozen has a different ice crystal pattern than "normal" water...

      This requires more research...

    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 6 years ago from Southern California

      This is a much needed hub. I would never have thought about watching out for those ingredients that you mentioned, especially wheat flour, who knew. I'm going to bookmark this one for future reference. Very, very good dallas93444. Rated up!

    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

      Knowledge is power!


    • saddlerider1 profile image

      saddlerider1 6 years ago

      Great hub and researched well. I was an athlete most of my life, very active and a health freak, I've done everything from juicing to organics.

      Now moving into the seniors of my life and because of my high activity and healthy living it has born me well. I now watch what I eat, mostly Organic foods and vegetarian for the most part. I don't drink or smoke, except for some wine now and then.

      My drinking days are over, I live a much simpler life and enjoy reading, writing, chess and long walks. I hope to live into my eighties or more God willing. Peace my friend, thanks for this very informational share. Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones, have a blessed Holiday Season...

    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA


      Your "fruits of your life" are now being harvested... You have obviously cared, nurtured yourself for a great, healthy life. All of us die, but some of us live.

      Merry Christmas to you and family and enjoy a better happy New Year!

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 6 years ago from South Africa

      Eating was/is my last priority, and now I’m starting to reap the bad fruit of my bad eating habits. Sugar level most of the day too low because I don’t take the time to eat breakfast, gall bladder removed, because I ate for years a handful of dry meat and a Coke for brunch... a slap chocolate for dinner... cheese sandwich and coffee for midnight snack.... I’ll have to print this hub and put it on my fridge. Let it be my guard. But will I obey it? Thanks for the important information.

    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA


      "How's that working for you?" As Dr. Phil would say... If we do the same thing and expect different results... Learning has not occurred. I hope the New Year will be one of positive change. You can make the difference!

      Thanks for sharing we care: I care.

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 6 years ago from South Africa

      Excellent Hub in so many ways. I appreciate very much the research that has gone into this one. Thank you. I think the labelling of foods is very important and reading the labels to really understand the ingredients is critical.

      Love and peace


    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA


      Your eclectic background and interest has provided a well-rounded outlook of an inquiring mind. Thanks for your comments. Perhaps food "specifications" are important as car specifications... Bottom line: we need to know what we are eating to enable intelligent choices...

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 6 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      I am very careful of what goes in (and out) of my body. Your wonderful and informative hub confirms that I am on the right track. I am sure I look ridiculous to some people as I am shopping, with my magnifying glass pulled out of my purse and focused on the label of the food packaging. You have done a great job here - well and accurately researched. I really appreciate it! Voted up and awesome!

    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA


      Ahhh, gosh, gee, ..thanks!

      My interest tends to be science oriented... I have an inquiring mind. I want answers... Our health cannot be purchased at any price.

      All of us die, but some of us live...

    • GmaGoldie profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 6 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

      This is a critical topic and what worries me is the unlisted "processing ingredients" such as ammonia in beef. Oh, good home made first class foods!

    • amy jane profile image

      amy jane 6 years ago from Connecticut

      Excellent, informative hub! I try to stick to vegetarian and whole foods as much as possible. I think people need to be more aware of what they put into their bodies. Processed food should be an occasional treat - not a daily habit.

    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA


      Knowledge empowers us. The unintended consequences are the most concern...

      Thanks for stopping by!

    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

      amy jane,

      Amy, sticking to "whole foods" is not enough. I have written other hubs about T. gondii, a parasite that most of us have. There is no cure. Cities dump their treated sewage water for agricultural purposes. The T. gondii is not killed with chlorine... It changes your behaviors. It is the number 1 caue of birth defects, the #1 cause of miscarriages... 70% of Schizophrenia patients test positive for the T. gondii parasite. In Morrow Bay, California, they dump sewage 2 miles out in the ocean. All warm blodded animals get T. gondii. Morrow Bay has the highest death rate of Sea Otters, Sea Lions in California! All test positive for T. gondii..

      It is serious business. T. gondii changes entire cultures of countries. France is an example. They are among the highest infected...

      Cats are the required host for the life cycle of T. gondii. Doctors warn pregnant women to "stay away from cats" while pregnant.. This is not enough. People dump cat litter into their toilets... It flows into the sewer system. Cat feces infect mice, rats, birds, and etc. It changes the behaviors of them to become attracted to cat urine. They have a fatal attraction to cats. The cats eat them and the life cycle continues...

    • World-Traveler profile image

      World-Traveler 6 years ago from USA

      I have heard that sometime in the past that some morticianers did not find it necessary to use embalming fluids on the deceased that were brought to them for preparation for funerals. That was because the deceased had consumed so many preservatives in their food over the course of their lifetime they were already preserved. That was before food additive controls were put in place.

      One of the purposes of heavy uses of preservatives were to give food products a longer shelf life. That resulted in a reduction in unused food, outdated food that would have normally been removed because of spoilage. What they did not know then, what we don't know now.

    • mulberry1 profile image

      mulberry1 6 years ago

      Good information. Reading labels can definitely be confusing, but it's something that's important. I know so many people who would just rather NOT know. I don't consider that an option personally.

    • Truckstop Sally profile image

      Truckstop Sally 6 years ago

      Thanks for the defintions. I thought I knew . . . flours, oils . . .

    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA


      The long-term "unintended consequences" of "presevatives" are unknown. Is a pickled heart good to a dead person?


      Ignorance is not bliss! Asome power bars recommended for children have added ingredients that may cause ADHD...

    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

      Truckstop Sally,

      Thanks for your comments.

    • oceansnsunsets profile image

      Paula 6 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Thank you for sharing this, and encouraging people to consider looking further into what is actually what we are ingesting! The list of foods that sound healthier than they are is interesting too, I have wondered about those before.

    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA


      We are the subject and focus of manufacturers, advertisers who have an incentive to entice us - whatever the cost; for their enrichment. We must educate ourselves to know what is best for us.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Haze 6 years ago from Sunny Florida

      dallas, excellent, well researched hub. It's amazing how careful we need to be when we buy prepackaged food. If I had my way I would walk out of my back door and pick dinner from my garden. Unfortunately, I fall into that group of people that many times goes for convenience. I understand the need for care I sometimes throw caution to the wind in deference to the lack of time. Rated up, useful, and bookmarked.

    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

      KoffeeKlatch Gals,

      I understand wanting to pick your own fruit and vegetables. I do remember eating "raw" unwashed vegetables when I was a "youngin..." I especially liked sun warmed tomatoes picked from the garden...

      Thanks for the "trophies!"

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