When “healthy” isn’t healthy
You probably know this, but food manufacturers don’t always have your best interests in mind when they’re selling you stuff. That’s why they pack sugar into ketchup and salad dressing, salt into soups, and extra chemicals into nearly everything. Arm yourself with these tips the next time you head out for a shop, and you can sidestep the worst foods.
Look for a short ingredient list
When you find a packaged food in the supermarket with a long list of ingredients on the label, just set it back on the shelf and look for a simpler version of the food. (We’re talking here about the “Ingredients” part of the label. Nutrition Facts is another part; more about that later.) The truth is, many of those ingredients are various kinds of sugars and chemical additives, and they’re there to “enhance” the looks, taste, or shelf-life of the food—not your health. While most of these additives aren’t explicitly harmful (although that’s an open question for some of those substances), they also aren’t good for you, either. So check the list of ingredients every time, recommends Marion Nestle, PhD, the Paulette Goddard Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health, Emerita, at New York University and author of Unsavory Truth: How Food Companies Skew the Science of What We Eat. Nestle says that a shorter ingredient list equals fewer added sweeteners and preservatives. These are the things that frustrate every grocery store employee.