How to Read Food Labels 101: The Definitive Guide

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When we go to the grocery store, we are often overwhelmed with so many choices. This overload can be stressful so we want you to be able to make better and more informed choices when doing your grocery run. Here, we will give you a breakdown on how to read food labels and what it all means!

CONTENTS

NUTRITION FACT TABLE

UNDERSTANDING YOUR CONSUMPTION
food label nutrition fact table icon how to read

This is usually the first thing people look at – whether you are concerned about the calories, sugar content, sodium content, or what-have-you, it is important to understand what it actually means.

nutrition fact table example

Example of a nutrition fact table with legend

Serving size: Values on label is based on the serving size listed. Adjust calories and nutrients based on how many servings you eat. In this example, there is 22g of sugar in 1 cup of this food.

Calories: A measure of energy; the amount of heat needed to raise 1 kilogram of water by 1 degree celsius; the amount of stored energy.

Core Nutrients: Fat, saturated & trans fat, carbohydrates, fibre, sugars, protein, cholesterol, sodium, Vitamin A, C, calcium, iron.

Optional Nutrients: Folate, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, riboflavin, selenium, thiamine, vitamin B12, B6, D, E, zinc.

Daily value %: Percentage of your recommended daily intake (see table below). For example, eating 1 cup of this food will give you 10% of your daily recommended intake of potassium.

Daily value % footnote: Tells you if the serving size has a little or a lot of that particular nutrient. For example, there is very little calcium in this product because the daily value % is less than 5%

daily values for nutrients for food

Recommended daily values for the core nutrients

When reading the nutrition fact table, it can seem quite straight forward. But it becomes a bit tricky when we want to compare similar products. To get a true sense of the differences in calories and its nutrients, both the measuring unit (i.e., 1 cup, 1 tablespoon), AND the volume/weight (i.e., milliliters, grams) of the product must be considered.

Here is an example:

blue ice cream bowl icon

Ice cream A

Serving size: 100 g (3/4 cup)
Sugar: 20g

red ice cream bowl icon

Ice cream B

Serving size: 1/2 cup (60g)
Sugar: 15g

Q: Which ice cream contains less sugar assuming we eat the same amount in weight?

It is hard to compare when the serving sizes are different on similar products. This means we have to do some math ourselves to find out the answer. Luckily, all our phones have calculators to make things slightly easier! So, here is an easy formula that can be used:

(Nutrient of choice in its weight) ÷ (Serving size in its weight)

A: In this case, we want the product with less sugar. Ice cream A has 0.2g of sugar per 1g of ice cream (20/100=0.2). Ice cream B has 0.25g of sugar per 1g of ice cream (15/60=0.25).

So we would buy ice cream A!

INGREDIENTS LIST

KEY FOR ALLERGIES AND INTOLERANCES
food label ingredients list icon

Each ingredient is listed in descending weight order. However, spices, herbs, seasoning, flavouring, flavour enhancers, food additives, minerals, nutrients, salts, and vitamins can be listed last in any order. Sugar-based ingredients are now grouped in brackets in descending weight order as well to help consumers better understand the different sources in the product.

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Example of ingredients list

Reading this section is crucial if you want to avoid particular components. Be wary of things that may not be explicitly listed even though the product may contain it! See the next section: Hidden ingredients and aliases to learn more!

HIDDEN INGREDIENTS & ALIASES

WHAT FOOD LABELS AREN'T TELLING YOU

food label hidden ingredients how to read

When we attempt to read the ingredients list, we come across loads of ingredients we don’t quite understand. Sometimes, it is just another way of listing an ingredient in a less obvious way. The top 3 hidden ingredients you should know are:

Compounds can also be hidden if they are an ingredient or a byproduct of an ingredient in the food. Again, this becomes extremely important when we have allergies and intolerances to watch out for. So let’s see what our packaging is not telling us!

1) Gluten

Particularly crucial to those who are gluten sensitive, gluten intolerant, or have Celiac’s disease, avoiding gluten can make a huge impact in one’s health and associated symptoms

The following ALWAYS contain gluten:

  • Barley
  • Bulgar
  • Cereal binding
  • Couscous
  • Durum
  • Einkorn
  • Emmer
  • Filler
  • Farro
  • Graham flour
  • Kamut
  • Malt
  • Malt extract
  • Malt flavouring
  • Malt syrup
  • Oats
  • Oat bran
  • Oat syrup
  • Rye
  • Semolina
  • Spelt (dinkel)
  • Triticale
  • Wheat
  • Wheat bran
  • Wheat germ
  • Wheat starch
  • field of gluten image suki hon naturopathic doctor nutritional counselling

    The following foods should be questioned for hidden gluten as they MIGHT contain ingredients that contain wheat itself, have grain additives, or are often contaminated:

  • Milk drinks
  • Cheese spreads / sauces
  • flavoured / frozen yogurt
  • Sour cream
  • Buckwheat flour
  • Rice cereals
  • Corn cereals
  • Buckwheat pasta
  • Rice cakes/crackers
  • Corn cakes
  • Oats
  • Baked beans
  • Imitation crab
  • Dry roasted nuts
  • Processed meat products
  • Imitation meats
  • Dried fruits
  • Fruits/vegetables with sauces
  • French fries
  • Canned soups
  • Soup bases / bouillon cubes
  • Salad dressings
  • Milk puddings / mixes
  • Some teas may contain Grain additives
  • Non dairy substitutes
  • Lemon curd
  • Potato / tortilla chips
  • Baking powder
  • Seasonings
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • If gluten is something you are avoiding, it is best to look for the Gluten-Free claim! To read more on why the above items should be on the gluten watch list, download our FREE guide here:

    2) Dairy

    Another common allergen is dairy. Whatever your reason is for avoiding this compound, these ingredients ALWAYS contain dairy:

    • Acidophilus milk
    • Ammonium caseinate
    • Artificial butter flavor
    • Butter
    • Butter fat
    • Butter oil
    • Butter solids
    • Buttermilk
    • Calcium caseinate
    • Casein
    • Caseinate
    • Cheese
    • Condensed milk
    • Cream
    • Curds
    • Custard
    • Delactosed
    • Dry milk powder
    • Dry milk solids
    • Evaporated milk
    • Goat’s milk
    • Hydrolysates
    • Hydrolyzed casein
    • Hydrolyzed milk protein
    • Iron caseinate
    • Lactalbumin
    • Lactalbumin phosphate
    • Lactate
    • Lactoferrin
    • Lactoglobulin
    • Lactose
    • Lactulose
    • Magnesium caseinate
    • Malted milk
    • Milk (whole, low fat, & skim)
    • Milk derivative
    • Milk fat
    • Milk powder
    • Milk protein
    • Milk solids
    • Nougat
    • Potassium caseinate
    • Pudding
    • Recaldent
    • Ready sponge
    • Rennet casein
    • Sodium caseinate
    • Sodium lactylate
    • Sour cream
    • Sour milk solids
    • Sweetened condensed milk
    • Whey
    • Whey powder
    • Whey protein concentrate
    • Whey protein hydrolysate
    • Yogurt
    • Zinc caseinate

    cows on a farm. suki hon naturopathic doctor food labeling nutritional counselling dairy

    3) Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

    MSG is our infamous flavour enhancer. It has also been associated with quite a bit of side effects. These can include things like:

    • Headache
    • Flushing
    • Sweating
    • Facial pressure or tightness
    • Numbness
    • Weakness

    • Tingling or burning in the face, neck, and other areas
    • Rapid, fluttering heartbeats (palpitations)
    • Chest pain
    • Nausea

    Here is a list of items that ALWAYS include MSG:

    • Monopotassium glutamate
    • Glutamate
    • Glutamic acid
    • Gelatin
    • Calcium caseinate
    • Sodium caseinate
    • Soya sauce

    • Textured protein
    • Yeast nutrient
    • Yeast extract
    • Yeast food
    • Autolyzed yeast
    • Hydrolyzed protein
    • Hydrolyzed corn gluten
    • Umami

    However it is important to keep in mind that naturally occurring MSG does exist in tomatoes, grapes, fruit juices, cheeses, and mushrooms. As a result, these foods can not be labeled as glutamate free even if it doesn’t have MSG as an additive.

    hand holding tomatoes in garden nutritional counselling

    Similar to gluten, there are other ingredients that should be considered to contain or even create MSG in the process. Foods that MIGHT contain MSG include:

    • Carrageenan
    • Maltodextrin
    • Malt extract
    • Malt flavouring
    • Citric acid
    • Bouillon, broth, stock
    • Natural pork/chicken/beef flavouring
    • Ultra pasteurized soy protein isolate
    • Soy sauce extract

    • Soy protein
    • Whey protein
    • Protease
    • Protease enzymes
    • Any fortified protein
    • Anything enzyme modified
    • Anything fermented

    notice exclamation mark icon things to look out for

    If you come across words like “flavours/flavourings”, “natural flavours/ flavourings”, or “seasonings” in the ingredient list, these usually contain MSG!

    NUTRIENT & LABEL CLAIMS

    WHAT THEY ACTUALLY MEAN
    food label claims nutrition claims icon

    We have all seen it before: low fat, reduced sodium, sugar free, reduces risk of heart disease, free-range, raised with no antibiotics – the list goes on. Do you know what they actually mean? Understanding food labels here can prevent you from falling into marketing traps as these are all optional!

    Here, we will go over:

    Are you ready??

    1) Nutrient Claims

    Nutrient Claims

    What They Actually Mean

    Sugar Free

    • Less than 0.5g of sugar
    • Less than 5cal per serving

    Reduced Sugar

    • At least 25% less sugar per serving

    No Sugar Added

    • No sugar added during processing or packing.
    • Includes products that already contain natural sugar (e.g. dried fruit & juice)

    Fat Free

    • Less than 0.5g of fat per serving

    Saturated Fat Free

    • Contains less than 0.2g of saturated fat per serving.
    • Trans fatty acids are less than 0.2g

    Trans-Fat Free

    • Less than 0.2g of trans-fat per serving.
    • Less than 2g saturated and trans fatty acid combined

    Low Fat

    • 3g or less per serving

    Low Saturated Fat

    • 2g or less saturated fat per serving.
    • Not more than 15% of the total calories are from saturated & trans fat combined

    Reduced or Less Fat

    • At least 25% less fat per serving than the original reference food

    Calorie Free

    • Less than 5 cal per serving

    Low Calorie

    • Contains 40 calories or less per serving

    Cholesterol Free

    • Less than 2 mg of cholesterol per serving than the original reference food.
    • 2g or less saturated & trans fatty acid combined

    Low Cholesterol

    • 20mg or less of cholesterol.
    • 2g or less of saturated & trans fat combined per serving.
    • Not more than 15% of the total calories are from saturated & trans fat combined

    Reduced or Less Cholesterol

    • At least 25% less cholesterol than similar product

    Sodium Free

    • Less than 5mg per serving

    Very Low Sodium

    • 35mg or less per serving

    Low Sodium

    • 140mg or less per serving

    Reduced or Less Sodium

    • At least 25% less per serving than the original reference food

    Source Contains Fibre

    • At least 2g of fibre per serving

    High Fibre

    • At least 4g of fibre per serving
    • High fibre claims must also meet the criteria for low fat or total fat must be shown next to the high fiber claim

    Excellent source/ Very High/Rich in Fibre

    • At least 6g of fibre per serving

    More/ Higher Fibre

    • At least 1g more per serving, or at least 2g more in prepackaged meals

    Lean Meat

    • Contains less than 10% fat

    Extra Lean Meat

    • Contains less than 7.5% fat

    Source Contains Omega 3

    • At least 0.3g of omega 3 per serving

    Source Contains Omega 6

    • At least 2g of omega 6 per serving

    Source Contains Vitamin __

    • At least 5% of the recommended daily intake

    Good Source of Vitamin __

    • At least 15% of the recommended daily intake except for vitamin C which requires at least 30%

    Very high/ Rich in Vitamin __

    • At least 25% of the recommended daily intake except vitamin C which requires at least 50%
    Lightly ___
    (ex. lightly salted)
    • At least 50% less of that added nutrient compared to the original

    Light

    • Food processed/modified to contain 25% less than a similar product

    Fortified

    • Where a vitamin/mineral/amino acid is added
    notice bell icon things to look out for
    As consumers, we should keep in mind that industries can adjust their serving size to make these claims! (this is particular true for no/low claims)

    2) Health Claims

    These claims are likely the ones to capture people’s attention the most. It tells you the benefits of the item without even reading the ingredients!

    Let’s look at what these claims actually mean:

    Reduced risk of high blood pressure

    • Low/free of sodium
    • May be high in potassium
    • Low in saturated fats
    • Limited alcohol content
    • More than 40 cal (unless fruit/veg)
    • Contains at least 1 vitamin or mineral

    Reduced osteoporosis

    • High in calcium and vitamin D
    • Phosphorus content is less than calcium
    • Limited alcohol content. More than 40cal (unless fruit/veg)
    Reduced risk of heart disease

    • Low/free of saturated & trans fat
    • Limited cholesterol, sodium, and alcohol
    • More than 40 cal (unless fruit/veg)
    • At least 1 vitamin or mineral
    • Is a source of omega 3 or 6
    Reduced risk of cancer

    • Product of fruits & vegetables
    • limited alcohol
    • Can be fresh, frozen, dried, canned, juiced

    Lowers cholesterol

    • At least 0.65g free plant sterols or stannous per serving size
    • At least 10% of weighted recommended nutrient intake of a mineral or vitamin
    • Less than 100mg cholesterol per 100g
    • Less than 0.5% alcohol content
    • Less than 480mg sodium
    • Low in saturated fatty acids

    3) Condition Claims

    When talking about condition claims, we are looking at the conditions the animals are raised in. This is probably one of the more confusing ones just because there are so many that sound very similar – so let’s take a look!

    Fed no/raised without: Raised on feed that is free of stated ingredient or component.

    Raised without antibiotics: No administration through feed, water, injection, local application, injection to embryos/eggs, lactating mother

    Grain-fed: This can be used if a minimum % of feed is made up of grain or grain byproducts calculated over the animal’s life cycle. The other % makeup of does not have to consist of grains

      • Beef & other red meat: 75%
      • Turkey: 80%
      • Chicken: 85%

    Vegetarian grain-fed (for chickens): The feed used contains only vegetable protein such as soy. This can change the flavour and colour of the meat.

    Free-run: Does not necessarily have to be raised outside, but are required to move around freely within an area. **Chickens raised for meat in Canada are free run

    Free range: Must have access to the outdoors. However, there is no legal definition of free range in Canada

    Hormone/Steroid free: Often a marketing tactic since hormone and steroid use (especially in poultry) have been banned

    Halal: Food permissible according to Islamic law, it refers to the proper handling of the animal to minimize suffering.

    Kosher: Kosher foods meet the dietary requirements of Jewish laws. It refers to the content and production requirements, not the cuisine itself. For example, mammals must have split hooves, and chew their cud. Fish must have fins and removable scales.

    understand food label nutrition suki hon naturopathic doctor sustainable affordable accessible healthcare

    4) Composition Claims

    Composition claims are ones that highlight a particular ingredient to draw attention to or emphasize the presence of a particular ingredient. HOWEVER, there is currently NO guideline on how much actually has to be in there to use such a claim!

    5) Organic Claims

    A product can be labeled organic if more than 70% of the food has organic content. If it falls between 70-95%, it can be labeled as organic, but the organic logo cannot be used. If there is at least 95% of organic content, then the logo can be used.

    In order for imported organic products to be labeled, they must have an organic equivalency. This means that the products must be certified by the foreign country and recognized by Canada. Canada compares the regulatory system to ensure the standards, principles, and outcomes are consistent. These items may also use the Canada Organic Logo. Current equivalency arrangements in place include: Costa Rica, European Union, Japan, Switzerland, and United States.

    organic canada logo

    Canada

    blank

    United States

    european organic logo label

    European Union

    5) True/Real/Pure/100% Claims

    True/real: Contains the actual ingredient regardless of its form (frozen, powder, ground, concentrated)

    Pure/100%: Can be used if none of the optional ingredients are added. It can also be used if it includes the name of all ingredients (ex. 100% pure sweet milk chocolate means it will contain sugar, whole milk, and chocolate)

    ADDITIVES

    FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE?
    food labels additives icon with ripped package pouring out powder

    There are thousands of additives used today but only 950 are considered safe! Although they help keep food fresher, make it easier to store, replace nutrients lost during processing, and help food look better, it is associated with a lot of health risks.

    Additives including antibiotics, BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole), BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene), caffeine, carrageenan, EDTA (Disodium ethylene diaminetetra acetate), MSG (monosodium glutamate), nitrites/nitrates, parabens, pesticides, propyl gallate, sodium chloride, sulphurs/sulphites can have potential health risks.

    See the table below to understand what it can do and where they are commonly found.

    Additive

    What it does

    Where it's found

    Antibiotics

    (Treat & prevent illness in livestock)

    • Depressed immune function
    • Food allergies
    • Antibiotic resistance

    • 95% of beef, farmed fish, chickens (laying hens)

    BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) & BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene)

    Preservative & antioxidant

    • BHA prevents rancidity in fats, oils, & oil containing foods
    • BHT slows rancidity in oils
    • Both associated with increased risk of cancer

    • Added to fats, oils, and foods that contain oil

    Caffeine

    Stimulant

    • Health risks: fibrocystic breast disease, birth defects, gut disturbances, pancreatic cancer

    • Naturally found in coffee, tea, cocoa, coffee flavoured yogurt & frozen desserts
    • Additive in soft drinks, gum, water

    Carrageenan

    Thickening & stabilizing agent

    • Made from seaweed
    • Health risks: ulcers, colitis, colon cancer, decreased # of live births in animals

    • Ice cream, jelly, chocolate milk, infant formula

    EDTA (disodium ethylene diaminetetra acetate)

    Sequestering agent & preservative

    • Health risks: skin irritations, allergic reactions, intestinal upset, kidney damage

    • Salad dressing, margarine, sandwich spreads, mayo, processed fruits & veg, canned shellfish, soft drinks
    • Additive in some liquid multivitamin preparations

    MSG (monosodium glutamate)

    Flavour enhancer

    • Made from fermentation of molasses or sodium & glutamic acid
    • Health risks: headaches, nausea, weakness, difficulty breathing, burning sensation in back of neck and forearms

    • In lots of foods!
    • Canned foods, dressings, frozen foods, soups, chips, restaurant foods etc

    Nitrites & Nitrates

    Preservative

    • Prevents bacterial growth
    • Enhances flavour
    • Preserves red colour of meats
    • Nitrates are generally harmless but nitrosamines are carcinogenic
    • Nitrates & nitrites react with proteins in the stomach to produce nitrosamines

    • Tap water
    • Spinach, beets, radishes, eggplant, celery, lettuce, other greens (due to use of nitrate fertilizers)

    Parabens (212-219)

    Preservative

    • Considered carcinogenic (have been found in high concentration in breast tumours)
    • Health risks: severe contact dermatitis, skin redness, swelling, itching, asthma attacks, anaphylactic shocks (in susceptible people)

    • Most common preservatives used in foods, medications, & makeup
    • Baked goods, frozen dairy items, fruit juices, jams, jellies, processed vegetables, salad dressings, soft drinks, syrups
    • Medications: preparations for eyes & nose, nose drops, rectal & vaginal items, bandages, local anaesthetics

    Pesticides

    • Health risks: irritation to eyes, nose, & throat, damage to central nervous system, kidney damage, cancer

    • Non organic fruits and vegetables
    • Water, air

    Propyl gallate

    Preservative & antioxidant

    • Slows spoilage of fats & oils
    • Often used with BHA & BHT
    • Health risks: allergies, liver & kidney damage, reproductive problems, lymphoma, cancer

    • Vegetable oil, meat products potato sticks, chick soup base, gum

    Sodium chloride (salt)

    Preservative

    • Health risks: high blood pressure, increased risk of heart attack & stroke

    • Other additives contribute to sodium levels
    • Processed foods, restaurant meals, canned foods

    Sulphur/ Sulphites (potassium bisulphate, potassium metabisulphite, sodium bisulphate, sodium metabisulphite, sodium sulphite, sodium dithionite, sulphurous acid)

    Preservative & antioxidant

    • Made from coal tar
    • Health risks: allergies, breathing difficulty
    • Avoid in cases of asthma & aspirin allergies (risk of anaphylactic shock)
    • Degrades vitamin B1

    • Dried fruits, vegetable & fruit juices, some dried, fried, or frozen potatoes, shellfish, jams, jellies, marmalades, molasses, gelatine, mincemeat, tomato paste, ketchup, pickles

    ARTIFICIAL COLOURS

    SYNTHETIC RAINBOW
    food label artificial colours how to read

    Majority of our food colourings are synthetic & are derived from things like coal, tar, or petroleum.

    It is mainly found in low nutritional value foods such as candy, soda, and processed foods.

    In fact, it has been linked to hyperactivity and allergic disorders in kids!

    Here are the commonly used artificial food colouring, where it is found, and its associated health risk:

    • Red3: Non-water soluble form FDA banned due to its link to thyroid cancer in rats. water soluble form still in use. (Found in maraschino cherries, candy, and baked goods)

    • Red40: #1 most widely used artificial food dye. Inconclusive data even though it is the most tested food dye. (Found in soda, candy, gelatin desserts, pastry, pet food, sausages)

    • Yellow5: #2 most widely used artificial colour. Can cause mild allergic reactions especially in those sensitive to Aspirin. (Found in gelatin dessert, candy, pet food, baked goods)

    • Yellow6: #3 most widely used artificial colour. Associated with increased risk of adrenal gland and kidney tumours. May also cause allergic reactions. (Found in beverages, sausages, baked goods, candy, gelatin)

    • Blue1: Increased cancer risk. (Found in beverages, candy, baked goods)

    • Blue2: Increased risk of brain tumours in mice. (Found in wet food, beverages, candy)

    • Green3: Was previously linked to bladder cancer but was reanalyzed and was said to be safe by the FDA (Found in candy, beverages)

    SWEETENERS

    THE MOST ADDICTIVE SUBSTANCE
    food label sweeteners icon naturopathic doctor in toronto

    Sugar is the most common additive!

    Other sweeteners such as aspartame, fructose, high fructose corn syrup, lactitol, lactose, Maltitol, mannitol, saccharin, sorbitol, stevioside, and sucralose are found in many of our grocery items.

    Let’s look at the health risks and where it is found in the table below:

    Sweetener

    What it does

    Where it's found

    Aspartame (equal, nutrasweet)

    • Breaks down into formaldehyde in the body
    • Health risks: obesity, appetite stimulant, diabetes, insulin resistance, dental caries, abnormal fetal brain development

    • Diet soft drinks, sugar free products

    Fructose (levulose)

    • Occurs naturally in fruits & vegetables
    • Table sugar breaks down into equal parts fructose & glucose (dextrose)
    • Small amounts are safe & do not boost blood sugar levels (makes this attractive to diabetics)
    • Large amounts increase triglyceride levels (increases risk of heart disease)

    • Health drinks, high fructose corn syrup

    High fructose corn syrup

    • Made from corn syrup, treated with enzymes to convert some of its dextrose to fructose

    • Soft drinks, processed foods (replaces sugar because it’s cheaper)

    Lactitol (polyol)

    • Made from lactose (milk sugar)
    • Poorly absorbed in the body
    • Does not promote tooth decay
    • Large amounts (20-30g+) can cause loose stools or diarrhea

    • Candy, chocolates, baked goods, ice cream, other sugar free products

    Lactose

    • Found only in milk
    • Milk turns sour when bacteria convert lactose to lactic acid
    • Many have difficulty digesting lactose

    • Whipped topping mix, breakfast pastry, dairy products

    Maltitol (polyol)

    • Made from hydrogenating maltose from corn syrup
    • Poorly absorbed in the body
    • Does not promote tooth decay
    • Large amounts (20-30g+) may have laxative effect

    • Candy, chocolate, jams, other sugar free foods

    Mannitol

    • Poorly absorbed in the body
    • Half has many calories as equal amount of sugar
    • Large amounts can have laxative effects

    • Gum, low calorie foods

    Saccharin (sweet n low)

    • 350x sweeter than sugar
    • Health risk: increased cancers of bladder, uterus, ovaries, skin, & blood vessels
    • Studies shown that it increases the strength of other cancer causing chemicals

    • Tabletop sweetener, diabetic foods

    Sorbitol

    • Occurs naturally in fruits & berries
    • Used in non-cariogenic (non decay causing) gum since oral bacteria cannot metabolize it well
    • Used in diabetic foods (it is absorbed slowly and does not cause blood sugar to increase quickly)
    • Moderate amounts may have a strong laxative effect, can cause diarrhea

    • Diabetic drinks & foods, candy, shredded coconut, gum

    Stevioside (stevia)

    • 100x sweeter than sugar
    • Obtained from Yerba Dulce shrub
    • Health food industry advocates extract as a safe alternative to synthetic sweeteners

    • Sold as “dietary supplement” and is contained in some drinks, & teas

    Sucralose (splenda)

    • Made by chemically reacting sucrose with chlorine
    • Considered safer than other synthetic sweeteners but should be used with caution

    • Diet foods, soft drinks, baked goods, ice cream, sugar replacements

    Sugar (sucrose)

    • Ordinary table sugar
    • Occurs naturally in fruit, sugar cane, sugar beets
    • Health risks: fluctuations in blood sugar leading to diabetes, insulin resistance, obesity dental caries, depressed immunity

    • Table sugar, sweetened foods

    information icon

    Did you know sugar is one of the most addicting substances? When we have sugar, dopamine is released which is associated with our pleasure circuit. We also get a temporary “high” and energy that makes us crave it! If you want support in kicking your sugar addiction, book an appointment today to work with a naturopathic doctor

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