Label Reading for Numpties.

This shit is hard as fuck and food companies are allowed to get away with all sorts of fuckery to trick you, so don’t feel stupid here. Just chill for a sec and check it. We got you.

To quote the great Bobby Digital,

“Lot of people, youknowhatI’msayin, they be gettin misinformed
thinkin everything is everything, that you could just get yourself
a little deal, whatever, youknowhatI’msayin you gonna get on you
gonna get rich. And all these labels be trying to lure us in like
spiders, into the web, knowhatI’msaying. So sometimes people gotta
come out and speak up, and let people understand, that you know you
gotta read the label, you gotta read the label. If you don’t read the label you might get poisoned…”

The RZA is right, you guys. The keys to nutrition is all right there, conveniently placed on label. Seems legit, right? Sounds easy enough, right?

Right?

Naw, son.

You gotta really look at the content, but also the serving size labeled. Labels, by law have to list the nutrition facts, but can get away with sneakily saying a serving size is actually half of what is listed.

But wait, there’s more. Food companies will also title things to make them seem healthy but they really aren’t. “Light”, “Gluten Free”, “Smart” are a couple you might see. Other companies will straight up name their brand to sound healthy with words like “Nature…”, and “Active…”. Be wary, they’re trying to dupe you. Here’s a few hoodwinks you might see.

Light

This usually refers to lower fat, but have sneakily added refined sugar. Not all fat is bad, in fact some unsaturated fat is super helpful in our diets.

Gluten Free 

This is all the rage right now, but most of it’s bullshit. Quite often sugar is added to these products to make up for the missing flavour of the glutens.

Smart

This is usually heavily processed. It comes from Semolina flour (refined white wheat). Usually the wheat germ is removed, removing all the fibre and nutrition from the grain leaving just the starch. Then it is fortified (fibre, vitamins, minerals and inulin added back in). This shit breaks down super easy, has some nutrition added back in, but is still processed to shit.

All Natural

This is common. ‘Naturally smoked’, ‘Natural flavours,’ etc. What a crock of shit. Sure, that lunch meat could have been smoked with real wood, but the pig/turkey/cow it came from was also kept in a feed lot its whole life, over eating soy, corn, and food wastes. Then it’s washed in ammonia to kill all of the infections it got from living in squalor, and is injected with sodium nitrites for the curing process. Natural my eye. Other Natural ‘flavours’ might include High Fructose Corn Syrup, under the argument that corn is ‘natural’. I assure you, corn as we know it today is anything but. It could even be on juice, which, let’s be honest, is the same as pop. Whether it’s Fructose, Lactose, Maple Syrup, Honey, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Raw Cane Sugar, it’ all breaks down to the same molecule; sugar. If you want ‘All Natural’ flavour, get your ass to the produce section.

Multigrain 

Don’t get this confused with Whole Grain, because it’s not. This is fucking white bread posing as healthy, but I assure you it’s a hustle. Sure it looks all grainy and brown and stuff; because it’s unbleached or dyed. Here’s the difference;

Multigrain – means more than one type of grain was used in the making of this product. Why is this bad? It’s mostly made with refined flour, meaning the germ, bran & endosperm (fibre, vitamins, minerals) have been removed. It’s still easily broken down into sugars by your body with little to no nutrients.

Whole Grain – means the grains used were whole, as in not stripped of their Germ, Endosperm and Bran. Why is this good? Because all the fibre and nutrients are there. Your body is going to have to work to break this down, meaning a slower release of insulin in your blood stream. Less spike and crash. You’re gonna get essential vitamins and minerals.

 

Putting it all together 

  • Stick with Whole and Ancient Grains (Spelt, Millet, Barley, Oat, Farro and Quinoa).
  • Watch out for hydrogenated oils, High Fructose Corn Syrup, MSG, Sodium Nitrites and high sugar levels.
  • When you look at a label, check out the Carbs section. This breaks into two sections. The fibre (which your body won’t absorb) and the sugars (which your body will absorb). Take the total carbohydrates on the label, subtract the fibre, and you’re left with the usable carbohydrates. Go for high fibre products. Your body will have a harder time breaking down those carbs, creating a slower release of insulin as you digest. Less fibre, means your body will break it down like it’s nothing and will store that shit like an episode of Hoarders.
  • Look for words like ‘unsaturated’ or ‘polyunsaturated’ fat, and stay away from words like ‘trans’ and ‘saturated’ fat.

Better yet, focus on buying foods that have no labels; whole foods, like meat and vegetables.

 

Be Healthy,

Chris.

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