Label Reading 101

This post is designed to help people who are just starting to become more conscious of what they are eating. I will admit that I am not a diligent label reader. I am not an expert. We have some tried and true packaged goods that we like, I've switched to some alternatives, and we try to stick to whole, real foods that don't have labels. Again, we aren't perfect. These are just some ideas to help you get started in eliminating some things from your diet. Even if you can greatly reduce these items, it's a wonderful start.

Here are three things to start with:

1. Aspartame or Acefulsame Potassium (Ace K). Really, any artificial sweetener should be avoided. However, they are disguised in all kinds of names so it can be hard to know where to start. Start with these two. I prefer real sugars over artificial sweeteners. **GASP** But real sugar has calories, you say?! Yes, but I'd rather burn real calories than process chemicals.

2. High Fructose Corn Syrup. I listened to a podcast about sugar that described how sugars are processed in our bodies. The quantity of HFCS in our food makes it hard on our bodies. We can only process so much sugar for energy. Anything over our needs automatically gets converted into fat. Try to reduce intake as much as possible to go easier on your body.

3. Food Dyes. I always pictured food dyes as those cute little containers that you used for holiday baking. You'd consume some dye in your holiday treats but then rarely touched it the rest of the year. At least that's how I envision life used to be. Now dyes are in EVERYTHING. Cereal, pickles, sports drinks, snacks, even that store bought window cleaner. WHY??! There is no nutritional value to food dye. I've had moms tell me they think red dye specifically affects their kids' behaviors. Moms, trust your gut on this one. Avoid it. Reduce it as much as possible. Find alternatives.

**Side note. I have not included links to support my thoughts because you can Google it and develop your own opinions. I have not done thorough research. These are just simple things that my imperfect, yet always trying, family applies to life.**

What are some label reading tricks that you use? Share with us!