Ingredients Lists Are Important Too

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Does anyone look at the ingredients list? Yes, but what about you? If your answer is no, maybe the following information will give you a couple of good reasons to start looking at it.

  • Ingredients listed on the label are all the ingredients in the package. However, they are not listed in random order. Instead, they start by listing the ingredient which the product contains more of (by weight) at the beginning, and ends with the ingredient the product has less of. Therefore, if you are a parent and want to buy cereal, surely you do not want “sugar” to be one of the first three ingredients.
  • It might not say “sugar”, but added sugar can have many names such as high-fructose corn syrup, honey, caramel, sucrose, maltose, etc. What is the second ingredient of your favorite soda?
  • Just because a product claims to be made from grains and/or wheat, this does not mean it is a whole grain product. A whole grain product will have the word “whole”  listed as one of the first three ingredients. (As seen in Example 1). Example 2 is not a whole grain product.

    Example 1Example of a whole grain ingredient list.

    Example 2Example of an ingredient list for a product that is not whole grain.

  • If a product has a very long ingredients list, this would indicate that it is highly processed.
  • It can help us find food allergens, such as wheat, milk pecans, etc.

These are just a few reasons why we need to take the time to look at the ingredients list the next time we are in the store.

Written By

Seydel Cropps, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionSeydel CroppsEFNEP Educator, Extension Program Associate Call Seydel Email Seydel N.C. Cooperative Extension, Surry County Center
Updated on May 20, 2020
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