Many newbie clean eaters are overwhelmed as they venture into the world of clean eating; it quickly becomes apparent that food manufacturers try to shove in as many unhealthy ingredients as possible— anywhere, everywhere, and every which way they can! I encourage my nutrition-minded clients to start small by making gradual changes to their diet, as opposed to trying to eliminate these unhealthy things altogether cold turkey. Why? Because it’s just a lot to take in all at once!
Take sugar, for instance. Now— we all know that sugar is a big offender in calorie high yet nutrition low sodas, sickeningly sweet breakfast cereals, and generally any sort of processed food out there. But it doesn’t just end there, either. Food manufacturers sneak sugar into canned tomatoes, various condiments, almost everything… even seasoning blends! Take a gander at some of these ingredients labels:
Why did I choose to pick on Mrs. Dash seasoning blends? Well, seasoning blends tend to have high amounts of sodium in them, and one of the selling points of Mrs. Dash is that it presents itself as a healthier option being salt free, sodium free, and MSG free. Nice, right? Well, when they’re marketing themselves as a healthier option, you certainly wouldn’t anticipate them sneaking in an unhealthy ingredient like sugar under the radar. But, alas, they do— and almost every other food manufacturer out there is guilty of this as well!
To be fair, the amount of sugar in a sprinkling of some of these seasonings is close to negligent. In fact, these labels all list the calories as 0— in short, because the serving size is skewed to be small so the calories can be legally listed as 0 despite the overall calorie content. But, the fact remains that 1) if you’re consuming these seasonings on a regular basis or using these seasonings liberally then that amount will quickly begin to add up and 2) if you’re concerned about eliminating these ingredients from your body altogether (because when you give your body sugar, studies show that it will continue to crave sugar!) then you need to be constantly mindful of the ways in which food manufacturers sneak these ingredients into your foods.
Take a quick minute to check if you don’t believe me. Go into your cupboards, grab some seasoning blends, and glance for sugar on the labels. Chances are, unless you’ve been a 100% strict clean eater for years— you’ll find several with sugar listed. Want to be even more mindful of the ways in which they’re sneaking sugar into your foods? Then check for these ingredients as well, which are often used as a way to disguise the sugar content of certain foods: brown sugar, cane juice, cane syrup, confectioners sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, fruit juice concentrate, glucose, granulated white sugar, high fructose corn syrup, honey, invert sugar, lactose, maltose, malt syrup, molasses, raw sugar, sucrose, and syrup.
As always, it’s up to you to decide what to put into your body— as well as how much of it to put into your body. But you need to be aware, educate yourself, and make informed choices. Unfortunately a lot of manufacturers circumvent this choice by sneaking unhealthy ingredients into foods we wouldn’t typically anticipate them to, which is why it is up to you, as the consumer, to make your choices accordingly. I don’t advocate nitpicking labels for the newbie to clean eating, simply because it can become downright daunting at first— but be aware, for your health’s sake, of the issues out there with food manufacturing and food labeling. And, if you decide that you don’t want to consume these things— make informed purchases or, if you prefer, concoct your own homemade seasoning blends instead!