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How to read that ingredients list in just 2 easy steps!

By Phoebe McCreath |


I Quit Sugar - How to read that ingredients list in just 2 easy steps!

We’ve previously covered how to decipher the nutritional panel and explained how to work out the sugar content in your food… but, what about all the sneaky add-ins?

Understanding the ingredients list is super important so you can really get to grips with what’s hiding in that packet. We know looking at a bunch of numbers can be confusing, but checking the ingredients is as easy as one, two…

Remember, ingredients are listed in order of quantity. So the higher sugar (and sweeteners) appear on the list, the more in your product! Simple.

Step 1: Check for sugar…

Did you know there are 71 sneaky names for the sweet stuff? Run your eyes over the ingredients for any of these names and if in doubt, leave it on the shelf. You could even keep the list on your phone to double check, like our ambassador Seymour does.

Our nutritionist, Liv, also warns that some alias sugars might not even appear under the “sugars” column in the nutritional panel. “Many real foods such fruit and vegetables have natural sugars in them, and manufacturers can add in a bunch of processed ingredients which won’t show up in the nutrition panel, so I always look at the ingredients list!”

Step 2: Check of artificial sweeteners…

Artificial sweeteners are linked to a bunch of health concerns, but these too won’t fall under the nutritional panel. So, scrub up on names such as sucralose, aspartame, acesulfame K (or Ace K), or literally anything that’s a number. If it sounds like it was made in a science lab – it probably was.

To master the art of JERF-ing, Liv recommends choosing products with the least amount of ingredients. “If you see a very large paragraph with a bunch of numbers, it’s best to put it back on the shelf. You want a small number of ingredients and preferably ones you recognise!”

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