Written by Dr Lucy Burns of Real Life Medicine
I recently went down the rabbit hole of food labelling. I did a presentation called The Doctor’s Guide to Reading Nutritional Labels”.
Do you know you what?
It is frightening to see the products out there. Everyday products that we are eating. Products we feed our families, filled with ingredients that would be more at home in a chemical factory than in our pantries. They have fillers, emulsifiers, synthetic ingredients, industrialised seed oils, additives. These are added to increase the shelf life, make the product cheaper or worse make it addictive.
The majority of these products come from brands we know well.
Brands we grew up with.
Brands we trust.
Some of these are really obvious like sugar-coated breakfast cereal. But many of them are lurking in sauces, spice jars and in flavour sachets.
I talk to my patients every day about food. Food is a powerful lever of health. It has the ability to heal or harm you. The evidence is overwhelming that ultra-processed food is harmful to your health.
The single biggest factor in the tsunami of chronic disease sweeping our country, our community, our friends and family is the food we eat.
My advice always stems back to this.
Eat Real Food.
We need a Real Food Revolution.
I get it, we are busy and time-poor. These companies offer a solution to this. A jar or a packet of something to add some flavour. As long as it’s cheap and quick, we’re happy. The thing is though, it’s your health and your families’ health that is sacrificed here.
Know what you are eating.
Read the ingredients.
- The ingredients are listed in order of quantity.
- If sugar is listed in the first few in ingredients, then you know the product is going to be high in sugar.
- The list of ingredients should be things you know to be food.
- There should be no or minimal numbers in the food these are additives.
Avoid these ingredients
- Sugar also called glucose, dextrose, sucrose, fructose, maltose, concentrated fruit juice (that sounds quite healthy right?- Nope) See our full list below. It’s frightening.
- Seed oils (also known as vegetable oils)- This includes canola oil (also known as rapeseed), sunflower oil, safflower oil, soya bean oil, rice bran oil, grapeseed oil.
- Fillers eg rice flour, potato starch, soy protein, maltodextrin ( Cheap, ingredients to make you think you’re getting more for money)
- Emulsifiers eg soy lecithin, sunflower lecithin, -these are very bad for your gut health
- Anything with hydrogenated or hydrolysed, isolates. These are highly processed using chemical solvents
- Most Numbers - Not all numbers are necessarily bad for your health, but it’s important to know what they are or where you can look them up. You can access the Australian Food Standards guide here
The bottom line is does this product belong in a Kitchen or Laboratory?
You can imagine my joy when I found Broth of Life. An Australian Company owned by an extraordinary woman- Alison Bell. The whole range ticks all my boxes.
I love my job of helping you to heal yourself with food. Helping you understand how to make healthy food choices. Helping you navigate the seas of predatory marketing.
Food is Medicine
Dr Lucy Burns
Lifestyle Medicine Physician
Weight Loss Doctor
Real Life Medicine
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