Ingredient List- Less Is More

A food product often comes with a lot of information and claims on the package.  On the front of the package there are often health claims like “low fat” or “sugar free.”  The back or side of a product will contain the Nutrition Facts Panel and ingredient list.  The ingredient list is the best place to determine how “processed” the food is.  If you can’t pronounce a lot of the words on the ingredient list you might want to question how healthy the food is.
Here are some examples.

1. Which is healthier half and half or “light” coffee creamer?  The “light” product has less fat so isn’t it healthier?  Let’s take a look at the ingredients.

Half and half is made of:

 whole milk and cream

Coffee Mate Light is made of:

Tapioca Syrup, Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Oil, Milk Protein (Sodium Caseinate), Dipotassium Phosphate, Emulsifiers (E471, E472e, Origins from Palm Oil), Color E171, Sucrose, Anti-caking Agent E554

2. Which is healthier popcorn with real butter or light microwave popcorn?  Which sounds more appetizing?  Which seems less processed?  Let’s take a look at the ingredients.

Popcorn popped in an air popper with melted butter is made of: popcorn and butter
Orville Redenbacher’s Light microwave popcorn is made of:

Popcorn, Palm Oil, Salt, Contains less than 22% of Butter, Flavor(s) Natural & Artificial, Color(s) Added Freshness Preserved By, TBHQ and, Citric Acid

Butter contains about 100 calories per tablespoon.  It can make your homemade popcorn high in calories if you use a lot.  I encourage moderate amounts of high quality wholesome food.  Less processed food is often more satisfying as well as more nutritious.  So ignore the claims on the front of the bag or box and go straight to the ingredient list.  You can decide for yourself if it is a healthier choice. mk