How to Read a Basic Food Label

A better title for this post may be:

How to Take the Fun out of Buying Sweets and Candy and Processed Food Every Single Time!

(But I doubt that title would rank high on Google.)

I was in Tractor Supply today and feeling very hungry. It was snack time and I was in need of some fruits and vegetables. My husband reminded me that they have alfalfa pellets, so I could get my greens in if needed. Nah, not today, but I turned the corner and ooooh, cherries! I love cherries.

Well, not really, this is tractor supply after all, not the farmer's market. So it was actually this:

Made with REAL CHERRY juice AND is high in Antioxidant Vitamin C! Sounds like a winner right?

Since the line was backed up and hubs was waiting to pay, I decided to investigate further because the cherry chocolate ones were calling to me and I wanted to see if there was any way I could justify buying these "cherries." To my delight, the back label shows the following:

"Cherry lover's fruit chews are made with REAL CHERRY juice. And they are high in Antioxidant Vitamin C" so....and here is the beauty of this ad campaign..."you can feel good about every delicious bite!" There you have it folks! Rip the bag open and go to town on the cherry cheesecake ones because that just sounds amazing.

Except I am not normal, so I can not do that. I have this weird need to know what is in my "food"...okay using that term loosely here. So, I read further:

Most people would read the ingredients and have the following internal dialogue:

"150 calories...hey only an hour on the treadmill, or I can skip my salad dressing today."
"Fat free! Yea."
"Oh and four servings gets me a full day of daily recommended vitamin C!"

I used to read my labels just like that. I would have totally added it to the cart!

Later on in life, I learned to look at the rest of the story:

Sugar, Corn Syrup, Modified Corn Starch, Dextrose, Cherry Juice Concentrate, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Citric Acid, Cocoa Powder, Color added (pretty!) Red 40, Red 40 Lake, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Blue 1, Ascorbic Acid, Confectioners Sugar, Carnauba Wax, Beeswax.

Today, I have also learned to read between the lines or between the ingredients as the case may be:

Sugar: Likely made from GMO Sugar Beets
Corn Syrup: More sugar? Really?
Modified Corn Starch: Made from (likely) GMO corn, breaks down into sugar...once again, Really?
Dextrose: Ah hem, sugar!
Cherry Juice concentrate: Where did they grow the cherries? Commercial fruit juice is worse for us than soda. Maybe I should just go for a Cherry Coke...Oh, I love cherries. Oh, and cherry juice? 100 percent...sugar!
Natural and artificial flavors: Natural as in Beaver Butt or as in we don't have to tell you what is in our "natural flavor" so we are not going to! In other words, I have no idea what this ingredient is, but likely, it is a nasty neurotoxin called MSG!
Citric Acid
Cocoa Powder
According to GS Globe, the following have been linked to artificial colors:
Red 40: Causes hyperactivity, cancer and may bring on allergic reactions. Banned in Europe
Yellow 5: Causes hyperactivity, chromosomal damage, and has been linked to allergic reactions and migraine headaches. Banned in Europe
 Yellow 6: Known health effects: causes hyperactivity, cancer and is linked to stomach upsets and swelling of the skin.  Banned in Europe.
 Blue 1: Kidney tumors anyone? Banned in Europe.
Ascorbic Acid: Ah, so that is where the Vitamin C comes from.
Confectioners Sugar... and we have more sugar..
Carnauba Wax

In essence, what we have here is a bag of cancer feeding, inflammation causing sugar coated with a little ADHD.

Did I ruin it for you? Sorry! There's more...

Each serving (and that is assuming you stick to the one serving exactly) is about 13 chews, which boasts a whopping 30 grams of sugar, or the equivalent of 13 sugar cubes! 30 grams of sugar heading to your tummy for digestion. Pure glucose digests very quickly and heads straight for the bloodstream.  Sugar in the blood stream is lethal. And our amazing body will not allow us to kill it that easily. It maintains healthy blood at ALL COSTS. The body goes right to work moving that sugar out of the blood and into the cells, never once giving a passing thought to that high Antioxidant Vitamin C, making that selling point absolutely moot!

So, how do you like them cherries? Are you feeling good about every delicious bite? Would you put them in the basket or leave them on the shelf?   It would be preferable that they are banned from our store shelves. But alas, what would life be if there were not any choices...certainly NOT a bowl of cherries!

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  1. yes, products like these are really laughable. My girls and I were lamenting the addition of blue food dye in all regular marshmallows the other day. After our science experiment, they went into the garbage!

  2. Great post! Pinned and tweeted. Lou Lou Girls