How to read a food label, or more importantly how to avoid highly processed man-products that are high in fructose:
I get it. You are frustrated. You are living with Fructose Malabsorption and you don’t know what to eat. You don’t know what is safe. You wander the isles at your local grocery store looking at labels after labels frustrated because you can not even pronounce most of the ingredients. Trust me, I have been there. When I was first diagnosed with Fructose Malabsorption the grocery store made me incredibly anxious. I knew I was supposed to avoid high fructose corn syrup and other obvious ingredients like honey and molasses; but I had no idea that so many other hidden, potentially gut bomb ingredients were out there. I was at a total loss; to scared to purchase any mass produced food product. At first, due to my food fears, I would only eat whole foods: foods without a label. But, after time I started to educate myself and realized that there were a lot of companies who were committed to using real whole food; and in fact there were a fair amount of products that I could eat. I am ten years into my diagnosis, and have replaced my anxiety and food fears with knowledge. I now know what is safe, what to avoid, and what questions to ask myself everytime I look at a food label.
I ask myself these questions when grocery shopping:
-Is this ingredient made in a factory or does it come from the Earth?
-Can I pronounce this ingredient?
-Can I create a mental picture of this ingredient?
For example: I know that acesulfame potassium does not come from the Earth; nor can I pronounce it. Also, I have no idea what acesulfame potassium looks like in its natural state. Therefore, why would I want to eat it? My body was made to digest real whole food, not man-made highly processed products like acesulfame potassium.
When I ask myself these questions I always come to the safest conclusion. If it doesn’t come from the Earth; if I can’t pronounce it; and if I can’t picture what the product looks like in its natural state then I know I shouldn’t eat it.
Check out this food label:
When you first look at this label you might think this product is safe for me and you, and it is gut friendly. High fructose corn syrup is never listed in the ingredients. But, if you look closer and ask yourself the above mentioned simple questions you will realize that this product is a gut bomb, not safe. “Organic Brown Rice Syrup, Organic Date Paste, Organic Cane Syrup, Organic Dried Cane Syrup, and Organic Tapioca Syrup” are all man-made highly processed products that potentially contain high levels of fructose and should totally be avoided. Don’t be misled by the word “organic”. “Organic” does not equal safe and does not equal healthy. This product and other products like this should be avoided.
So what should you eat? What products are safe? Check out the Spotlight section of my blog. I have highlighted many safe products.
It is important to keep a daily food journal when you are diagnosed with Fructose Malabsorption. It will help you determine what foods are safe for you. Each of us has a unique gut voice and we need to learn to listen to it. Link here for an example of a Fructose Malabsorption Daily Food Journal.
Everyone with Fructose Malabsorption tolerates different levels of fructose and has their own unique gut and gut voice. It is best to make a list of what feels good and what doesn’t, listen to your gut voice, and remember it is all about the daily balance.