Deciphering Food Labels - Step 1. What are the ingredients?

Deciphering Food Labels Series - These posts will point out some of the most important things to look for when shopping for REAL food in varying food categories. Ideally, you want to stay on the outskirts of the grocery store and shopping mostly for fruits, vegetables, whole grains, meats, eggs and dairy..all without additives and preservatives. In fact, I enjoy purchasing from local farms where I can get to know the farmer. Ideally grow some fresh produce on your own. Reminder: Everyone must consider the benefit, or disadvantage, of eating from each of the food groups for themselves. Read Step 2 and Step 3 here.

Step 1. What are the ingredients? Usually will not incur a cost increase, it's just a matter of making a better choice using your current grocery budget. 

Let's take a look at these cottage cheese labels. The one on the left is Daisy Brand that's readily available in most grocery stores. The ingredients are 'Cultured Skim Milk', 'Cream' and 'Salt'...only three ingredients!

Whereas the one on the right has many added ingredients, most of which CANNOT be found in even a real cook's kitchen.

So why the unnecessary additives? Well, most of the time, these are added to make up for what is missing...and what is usually missing are real food ingredients.