Counting Ingredients

If you’re feeling confused about how to determine what makes for a healthy thing to put in your mouth, whether it’s for a snack or a meal (not that there’s a difference between the two…), one easy way to decipher all the mixed information out there is to check for number of ingredients.

And these ingredients don’t necessarily need to be printed out on a sticker and placed on a wrapper, incidentally.

For example, you can pick up a yam at the farmer’s market and see the single ingredient: yam.

Same goes for all other foods, or non-foods for that matter!   If you were to pick up an ‘in-a-pinch’ food, like one of the original Larabars (a peanut-free variety, of course), you will find one or two ingredients on the label, both of which you can identify as food, such as:

  • Cashews
  • Dates

Compare this to another ingredient label, which you might find on something else far too many people would mistakenly view as a healthy snack option, simply because it’s low in calories…the ubiquitous low-carb bar, such as the Quest brand:

  • Protein Blend:
  • (Whey Protein Isolate, Milk Protein Isolate)
  • Isomalto-Oligosaccharides* (Prebiotic Fiber)
  • Peanuts
  • Water
  • Erythritol
  • Cocoa
  • Sea Salt
  • Stevia
  • Lo Han Guo
  • Natural Flavors

Ah… nothing like a little Erythritol to give you a little energy boost, right?  Can you even identify that as a food?  It is produced at the industrial level from glucose by fermentation with a yeast and can cause gastric side effects.  Lovely.

One ingredient, or two… both of which you can tell are actually food is much more likely to be a good choice versus something like the example above, or worse!