by Jeremy Likness
It is important that you know how to shop for quality foods. This section explains how to maximize your trips to the grocery store by revealing exactly how to read labels and find healthy foods. It is not very complicated, but a little knowledge can go a long ways when it comes to healthy shopping.
Foods are often "grouped" on ingredients lists to present the items in a specific way. Sometimes this is for legitimate reasons, and sometimes it can be downright tricky. Most people understand that ingredients should be listed in descending order of quantity -- in other words, the ingredient that occurs the most in the product should also be listed first. Therefore, someone looking for a protein bar will be happy to pick up something that reads:
super-di-awesome Protein blend (hydrolyzed cow toes, whey), maltodextrin
The label will list protein, and zero sugars.
Of course, there is more going on here. That special protein blend -- what is it, really? Let's say our ingredients list had 10 grams of whey, 11 grams of cow toes (ew!) and 12 grams of maltodextrin. That list would need to be in descending order of quantity, or "maltodextrin, hydrolyzed cow toes, whey."
Anyone familiar with sugars knows that while maltodextrin doesn't affect the sugar count, it is very high glycemic and therefore not something you would want to be the primary ingredient (unless this was a post-workout shake). So looking at this label, the average consumer would say to themselves, "High in sugar, tons of poor protein, and only a little whey."
So what to do? Simple. The company groups the cow toes and whey together. This is the "super-di-awesome protein blend." Because the sum of the ingredients is 10 + 11 = 21, this new "blend" can be listed before the maltodextrin, with the components of the blend listed in order.