Recently while working with clients on reading labels, we discussed how making SIMPLE gluten-free swaps in what we purchase can make a huge impact on our health.
I’m not talking about the obvious of buying all organic or non-GMO foods.
Start being mindful of the labels on the foods you are purchasing. Better products, like whole foods, non-GMOs, or organic, can improve your health.
But, did you realize that the same products can vary tremendously with the different types – even the same brand!
Label reading can be a difficult task. So many of the claims are useless and meaningless. Lots of catchphrases are added to get you to notice the labels and buy the product. Reading the whole label can help make simple swaps to improve your health.
A popular product for our children’s snack is applesauce. We think this is a healthy choice. There are many different applesauce products to choose. So take a moment and compare – you will be amazed!
One of my favorite grocery stores is Wegmans.
Wegmans Stores are fabulous for people with food allergies as they label all of their products with markers depending on the allergy or ingredient you are looking for, like gluten, dairy, or vegan. Upon looking at the Wegmans applesauce, I was shocked at the differences.
Wegmans Applesauce: The Ingredients: apples, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, water, and ascorbic acid (to maintain color). Per 1/2 cup serving this applesauce has 16g of sugar. Corn syrup and High Fructose Corn Syrup are ingredients that most should know to STAY AWAY from – they wreak havoc on your body and make you crave more sugary foods. Therefore, HFCS increases health problems, diseases and allergies in your body. By consuming this snack, your child is digesting 4 teaspoons of sugar! Not a healthy choice by far! (And remember that is ONLY for 1/2 cup.)
Wegmans Natural Applesauce – at first glance of this bottle, there isn’t much difference. Natural Applesauce, No Sugar Added. Switching, a SIMPLE SWAP here, can make a big difference. Here the ingredients are a bit more simple: Apples, water, ascorbic acid (to maintain color). This shows 1/2 serving with 9 grams of sugar. Still seems high for sugar but better. Also, keep in mind that apples carry their own natural sugars. You still don’t want to overload on these natural sugars in fruits, but this is far better than adding high fructose corn syrup to your body. Really watch those added sugars.
Just for a quick comparison, let’s look at another label.
Motts Original Applesauce: The ingredients here are apples, high fructose corn syrup, water, ascorbic acid (Vitamin C). Their applesauce has 25 grams of sugar per 1/2 cup serving! Wow, that is over 6 teaspoons of sugar. Again, that is ONLY if you are consuming 1/2 cup!
Let’s go one step closer to health: Choosing Organic
By choosing organic you are now taking out the pesticides and toxins found on the apples as they are grown. (Check out EWG’s information on pesticides on our produce.)
This will clean up your applesauce even one step further. But, buyer beware. Even here making a SIMPLE SWAP can make a huge difference.
Wegmans Organic Applesauce: The ingredients are organic apples, water, ascorbic acid (to maintain color). Sugars are 9 grams per 1/2 cup serving. The difference here is the SIMPLE SWAP to organic, hence cutting out the pesticides and toxins on the apples. A good move for the health in your family.
You may be thinking, my child would rather have cinnamon in his applesauce to add more flavor. So you grab the Organic Cinnamon Applesauce. Wow – guess what? Do you think this is healthier?
Wegmans Organic Cinnamon Applesauce: The ingredients are organic apples, organic sugar, organic cinnamon, water and ascorbic acid (to maintain color). It has added cinnamon . . . . . but also 21 grams of sugar (5 teaspoons) per 1/2 cup serving! Which in turn, makes this swap, not so healthy.
Amazing, huh!? By paying attention to the labels, you can really make a huge impact on your family’s health. As sugar is “Today’s silent killer” per Dr. Mark Hyman, this is an ingredient we all need to watch. Companies are adding sugar into everything so we will buy and repurchase an item. This makes it tempting but scary for the future of our children.
All of these items were gluten-free. Just remember that gluten-free doesn’t always equate with healthy. Check those labels.
The next time you shop – don’t just grab your favorite products – stop and READ the label first! Making those SIMPLE gluten-free SWAPS can really change your health for the better!
Learn how to create a healthy gluten-free life