By: Lauren Ledford and Emma Wood
Reading food labels is a great way to fully understand what ingredients or preservatives you are putting in your body. Some of these products should be a red flag to let you know the potential risks of certain foods. There are ingredients that food manufacturers are allowed to add in products, but could cause negative effects to your body. Being aware of these ingredients can help you determine which foods to avoid.
Hydrogenated- This is your “key” word for knowing if your product truly has trans fats in the food. Manufacturers are allowed to put minor levels of trans fats in foods without documenting on the nutrition facts panel. Therefore, if you truly want to know if there are any traces of trans fats this is the word you should look for in the ingredients list.
- Labels are allowed to claim zero grams of trans fat if they have fewer than 0.49 grams, according to the FDA. To avoid even trace amounts of these harmful fats, don’t eat foods with partially hydrogenated oils.
Word ending in “-ose”- If you see an ingredient in the list that ends in “-ose” this is an indicator of added sugar in your food product. Remember that 4-5 grams of sugar equals one teaspoon and can add up quickly. Examples would be: Sucrose, Galactose
Monosodium glutamate- This is the official name for what is commonly known as MSG. In the ingredients list the full name will be spelled out as monosodium glutamate. MSG is a salt like preservative and an article from the Mayo clinic states: “Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a flavor enhancer commonly added to Chinese food, canned vegetables, soups and processed meats. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has classified MSG as a food ingredient that’s “generally recognized as safe,” but its use remains controversial. For this reason, when MSG is added to food, the FDA requires that it be listed on the label. MSG has been used as a food additive for decades. Over the years, the FDA has received many anecdotal reports of adverse reactions to foods containing MSG.”