Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Why I'm a Label-Reader

Everybody says that "this" food is healthy and "that" isn't, but do we really know what is healthy and what isn't?

We all know that fast food is bad for you, and natural produce is good. But then we have all the food in the middle. At least, we think it's the middle.

Take low-fat foods. Do you know exactly why they're so good for you? Sure, they're low in fat, but they're high in chemicals! These are the ingredients in a Yoplait Light Blueberry Yogurt. (The nasties are in blue.)

Cultured Pasteurized Grade A Non-Fat Fat Milk, Blueberries, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Modified Cornstarch, Whey Protein Concentrate, Kosher Gelatin, Natural Flavor, Tricalcium Phosphate, Citric Acid, *Aspartame, Potassium Sorbate added to maintain freshness, RED #40, Vitamin A Acetate, BLUE #1, Vitamin D3.

That's about five too many blue ingredients for me.

  • High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), is made by adding chemicals (most of which I cannot spell) to liquidized cornstarch. It is one of the foods everyone knows is bad, but if you go to the supermarket and pick up almost any processed food, you'll probably find those four letters somewhere on the ingredient list: HFCS. (I'll do a whole post later on this yucky non-food.)
  • Modified Cornstarch is Modified Food Starch, which is the same thing as Monosodium Glutamate, another baddie. Again, I'll do a post on this one, too.
  • Whey Protein Concentrate, is also MSG in disguise. You'll find that a lot of foods that claim to have no MSG actually have it under sneaky pseudonyms. MSG has about a billion names, which let it slip into foods and into your body. YUCK!
  • Natural Flavor. This one isn't really bad. The problem is that you don't actually know what they mean by natural flavors. Manufacturers even put teeny-tiny amounts of MSG in with the "natural flavors". With all of the other dubious ingredients on the list, why don't they tell us the names of these so-called "natural" flavors?  Hmmmm....
  • Aspartame is another bad, bad food. Or should I say non-food. It is an artificial sweetener that has a strangely sweet taste. It was apparently once a biochemical warfare agent. I don't want to eat that.
Now, if these are the non-ingredients in a "healthy" yogurt, what are the ingredients in the unhealthy foods? Is the low-fat yogurt really worth all those chemicals, non-foods, and preservatives? It sure isn't to me.


  1. Red # 40 - not so great, either.

  2. Frances,

    I know, but I couldn't find anything about it in plain English. :(

  3. Well written post. One point of contention. Whey protein of any kind is simply what is left of milk after curds are removed in the cheese-making process. It is not MSG. It does contain glutamic acid as do all meats, poultry, fish, eggs, & dairy products.

  4. Uncle Ryan,

    Check out this website.

  5. Really the only thing truly edible in that container is the blueberries and there are few of those in there. You might try making your own yogurt from unpasteurized whole milk and then adding local berries or honey for flavor. It really isn't hard to make and you should be able to find a dairy nearby. You could also try goat milk too!

  6. As a matter of fact, we DO make our own yogurt from local milk! And my favorite way to eat yogurt is with a little bit of raw honey. Yum.

  7. Well done, Kaynan! This topic is near and dear to my heart as I discovered (the hard way)how MSG hides in foods under other names on labels. Your followers can read more about it here:

    Keep up the great work!