KNOW YOUR FOOD LABELS
Choose healthier vegetables and fruits that provide fiber for easier and improved digestion. Simplify digestive body processes to avoid constipation and heart burn. Choosing to eat less carbohydrates that are turned into sugar and starches result to leaner and fit bodies.
It is imperative to know your food labels. Healthy shopping means only buying ingredients and food products that come from reliable sources and have credible nutrition facts stated at the back of the package. They also have description of the processing done, caloric indices aside from the expiration dates.
Watch out for food that have high content in saturated fat, transfat, cholesterol, calories, carbohydrates, omega-6, alcohol, salt and sugar.
Decipher labels inorder to make better shopping choices:
Non-GMO – In the US and other developed countries, there is a Non-GMO Project that checks via scan codes and searches the current list of products that have been verified as Non-GMO or non- genetically modified organisms.
USDA Certified Organic – The USDA has strict production and labeling requirements for its organic labels. If a product claims to be USDA ceritfied organic, 95% of the ingredients must have been grown or processed without synthetic fertilizers or pestecides. Organic foods cannot be be genetically engineered or irradated
Natural – Natrural means the product contains no artificial ingredient or added color and is only minimally processed. However, some food may contain antibiotics, growth hormones and other chemicals injected to the livestock while alive and it it still classifed as NATURAL , though some antibiotoics may find itself in food for human consumption.
Hormone-Free – All animals naturally have hormones. But when beef or lamb is labeled “ Raised without hormones” it means there were no added hormones to beef , lamb meat, pork or poultry during the period it was raised and fed.
Grass-Fed or Pasture Raised – “ Grass-fed” is a USDA label that means an animals’ primary source of food comes from grass or forage, not from grains. “ Pasture-raised” means that animals spent at least some time in pasture, feeding on grass and forage—- but may have been fed some grains. Grass-Fed Beef and lamb are good to buy. Butter and Dairy from grass fed cows are also safer to ingest.
GMO – A genetically modified organism, is a plant, animal, microorganism or other organisms whose genetic makeup has been modified in a laboratory using genetic engineering or transgenic technology. This combinations in plant, animal and bacterial and virus genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods.
Genetic modifications affect many of the products we consume on a daily basis. They are made available commercially and the Non-GMO Project works diligently to provide the most accurate, standards for Non-GMO verification.
Though there are only several GMO crops widely available, some commodities often get further processed into a wide variety of ingredients and typically present in packaged products as :
Amino acids, alcohol, aspartame, ascorbic acid, sodium ascorbate, citric acid, sodium citrate, ethanol, flavorings, (“ natural and artificial”), high fructose corn syrup, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, lactic acid, altodextrins, mollasses, monosodium glutamate (MSG), sucrose, textured vegetable protein (TVP), xanthan gum, vitamins, vinegar, yeast products.
Written and compiled by: Lourdes Hizon-Guevara
Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Progarm. Book: Mayo Clinic Family Health Book, 5th Edition and The Mayo Clinic Diet
On GMO and Non-GMO: http://caldwell.ces.ncsu.edu. Article “ All Natural, Organic and Non GMO- What Does It All Mean? “ , ‘ written by Eli Snyder, Extension Agent, Agriculture-Commercial and Consumer Hort. N.C. Cooperative Extension, Wilkes County Center. Article last updated by Tina Lovejoy
nongmoproject.org. regarding USDA Organic verification
“ Hormones and Antibiotics in Animal Production, written by Katie Carter, Area Agent, Agriculture-Livestock NC Cooperative Extension, Jones County Center