If you are just starting out on your own natural health journey, I would love to help by sharing my top 4 natural health fundamentals.
The first fundamental is extremely important! Personally, this is something that really gets me fired up, so here we go:
1. READ THE PRODUCT LABEL PROPERLY
It can be really hard to know –
A. When your buying the right thing &
B. When your not buying the right thing.
Packaging labels are SO misleading these days that to be honest unless your reading the fine print you really cannot be sure your buying what the product ACTUALLY states. There are not many laws in place to ensure your product aligns with how its marketed. If you call your product ‘healthy biscuits’ there is not a screening process you need to go through in order to sell your product and prove that they actually are healthy. So what hope do consumers have right…?
The only way in which you can be sure a product IS as it states means you need to do the leg work and read the label. There are of course some amazing brands out there that pride themselves on providing the consumer with the product they think they are buying but until better laws are in place please be careful!
A. Don’t stress about the nutritional panel.
I swear this is there to confuse people. The nutritional panel is there to help if you can read one properly or if you are counting your macros or calories.
Firstly, you will see some snacks have a serving size of two or three when there is no way you would eat 1/3 of the bar and then there are other snacks that state they are a serving size of one but the sugar content is so high it really should be 4 serves. If your not taking into account the serves, you can really get yourself confused and overeat when you think your doing the right thing.
Another reason I dislike them is due to the % daily intake component. This is based on a calorie intake of around 2000calories per day which is putting everyone in the same basket. Take two women for instance – both the same age, height and weight but one has a much lower fat % than the other. That means that the woman with a higher % of muscle mass will always burn more calories than the other woman as muscle naturally burns more calories than fat when resting. So if you are a woman who has a higher fat % you may be eating the average % of calories that your ‘suppose’ to eat in a day to lose weight but you may really struggle to lose that fat. Weight loss is not a one size fits all model, its completely individualised. That is another reason nutritional panels can be too confusing.
B. DO read the ingredients list.
The ingredients list is in my opinion the MOST important part of any product packaging.
The ingredients will be listed from most to least so you can get a very quick idea of what the majority of the product is actually made out of. If the first ingredient is sugar or flour you know that product is mostly sugar or carbs. If there are numbers in the ingredients list, I would encourage you to google the number and have a read to see what it is. In the same way, if there are words in the ingredients list that you cannot pronounce or recognise, please google it and find out. You might be reallllllly surprised.
C. DONT look for health star ratings
These beautiful little stars can be paid for by the product company. They are extremely misleading and once again consumers are caught by this time and time again because they THINK they are doing the right thing.
D. DONT look for the heart foundation tick
Once again, think $$$ and you have the answer to this one.
E. If it says, LOW FAT or LOW SUGAR feel free to say “NO, NO,NO”.
What you want to ask yourself here is, HOW did they take these things out of the product (fat and sugar) and what did they replace it with to still make it taste good. (do your own research)
F. Say no to – NO added colours, flavours or MSG
If you see this on a packet, just think to yourself why they have written that? No one wants added colours, flavours or MSG because lets face it, there is NO reason for these things to be in FOOD.
This is another way to market products to consumers to make them think “this product is healthy”.
What we should be thinking is – “Why have they put that on their packet?”
G. Be careful when you see ‘Natural colours and flavours’
Do you actually know what a natural colour or flavour is? How have they extracted it from its natural form and put it into your food. There ARE some occasions where this is done well for example you might see natural colour and then in brackets (beetroot powder) this is perfectly okay because you are being told WHAT or WHERE that colour or flavour is coming from. Just ask the question…
I bet you didn’t think shopping was quite this hard, right..! and trust me its not. Once you educate yourself more around product labels, it becomes VERY easy.
I want to finish off by saying these are my personal views and experiences and please do make sure you do your own research.