Reading labels is about as easy as throwing those sharp little razor star things that ninjas throw. I know this because I have tried both.
(Okay, not really, but a badly read label can have the same results as a badly thrown star, so we’ll just pretend that reading labels makes us look just as cool as those star-throwing ninjas.)
The first rule of label reading is to always read the label. ALWAYS. Every time. Ingredients for the same food item can vary from brand to brand, and ingredients in any product vary by region. That is, Oreos in California do not have the same ingredients as Oreos in Missouri; they are manufactured in different facilities, and the non-main ingredients they use are different. (Also, don’t eat Oreos, they are not safe for ninjas or anyone wishing to live past age 50.)
Furthermore, ingredients in any product can change without notice. One of my favorite brands of “safe” chocolate recently added soy to their product, which means it is no longer “safe” and no longer my favorite because they took away my chocolate. They’d better watch out come the day I master star-throwing.
(Erm, okay, not that kind of star-throwing… unless we’re going to have an intellectual smack-down about the dangers of making me angry?)
In any case, there are five parts to label reading, whether you are safe-checking foods, medications/supplements, body products, or household products:
- Look for the two most conspicuous enemies, citric acid and citrates.
- Look for foods that are above your tolerance level. If you need to look up a food by name, check here!
- If you have very low tolerance like me, check for ingredients derived from citric acid-containing things.
- If you’re concerned that something might not be on the label, call the manufacturer to ensure that the product is safe.
- Cry because (a) the product is safe, (b) the product is not safe, or (c) you’ve heard the words “proprietary information.”
Be sure to check out the links in each step for more details than you’d ever like to know (but should probably know anyways).