So, you’ve taken the courageous leap into the world of clean eating. Congrats! Eating clean is a great way to get healthy. By choosing whole foods like fresh fruit and veggies and lean meat over processed foods high in fat and sodium, you’re not only ensuring that your body is getting everything it needs; you’re ensuring it avoids everything it doesn’t.
That being said, there are still some packaged foods that fall under the clean eating umbrella. Many organic brands have stepped up their game and have eliminated preservatives, processed fats, MSG—all of those pesky ingredients we’d rather not put in our bodies. But it’s still important to read labels. If you’re new to clean eating, label reading can feel a little daunting at first. But it’s easier than you think! It’s all about simple, clean ingredients.
The Ingredients List
As far as clean eating goes, the most important aspect of the label is the ingredients list. This is where you’ll find everything you need to know about the contents of the food you’re purchasing. Ingredients are listed in order of quantity; the most prominent ingredient will always be first, and the least prominent ingredient last.
What To Look For
In general, the shorter the ingredients list, the better, because that means fewer additives. But that’s not always the case. As long as all of the ingredients listed are whole foods, the length of the list is insignificant. Look for ingredients that you recognize, like tomatoes, olives, barley, basil, cucumber, and carrots. Look for ingredients that you could easily locate in your grocery store and that you trust purchasing.
What To Avoid
This is the biggie. If 99% of the ingredients are clean and the other 1% is preservatives or artificial sweeteners, you won’t be doing yourself any favors by eating it. Avoid foods containing refined sugars, artificial flavors or sweeteners, preservatives, or MSG. Some particularly nasty preservatives to avoid are:
- benzoates, and
- yellow dye No. 5.
These preservatives are believed to be linked to things like trouble breathing, hyperactivity in children, heart damage, and even cancer. It is important to note that research is still being conducted here, but the main thing to remember is that by avoiding these ingredients, it is more likely you’re eating healthier foods, and that’s what matters!
When most people think of reading labels, the nutrition facts come to mind. But, for clean eating, most of your attention should be devoted to the ingredients list. It is still important to pay attention to things like sodium and fat. When looking at the nutrition facts, keep in mind that some foods are naturally higher in sugar, like fruit, or fat, like avocadoes. These sugars and fats occur naturally and are more easily processed by your body, and are therefore healthier.
Eating clean is one sure way to stay healthy, but harmful preservatives and sweeteners often lurk in other products too. Don’t forget about your medicine cabinet. All of Texaclear’s® products are free of dyes, gluten, alcohol, sugar, acetaminophen, and artificial flavors.