The Label Conundrum
Have you ever found yourself standing in the store aisle wondering what to buy? One product promises to be eco, another promises to be all-natural, yet another uses some organic ingredients – and all you’re looking for is some dish soap. A simple household staple that will do its job effectively without leaving a lasting negative impact in your home or our collective waterways. So you pull out your “smart” phone and try desperately to get intel on that unrecognizable ingredient, feeling foolish but determined and wishing really hard that someone could just tell you what was safe.
You’re not alone. I understand exactly what you’re going through, because that used to be me, sometimes wandering the aisles for hours, trying to decipher labels and determine what was acceptable to use on my children and in my home. And when I realized that nobody else was going to step up to the plate, I resolved to do it myself.
At-A-Glance: The Nutrition Facts Label
Understanding what the Nutrition Facts Label includes can help you make food choices that
are best for your health.
This section shows how many servings are in the package, and how big the serving is. Serving sizes are given in familiar measurements, such as "cups" or "pieces."
Remember: All of the nutrition information on the label is based upon one serving of the food.
A package of food often contains more than one serving!
Amount of Calories
The calories listed are for one serving of the food. "Calories from fat" shows how many fat calories there are in one serving.
Remember -- a product that's fat-free isn't necessarily calorie-free. Read the label!
- Percent (%) Daily Value
This section tells you how the nutrients in one serving of the food contribute to your total daily diet. Use it to choose foods that are high in the nutrients you should get more of, and low in the nutrients you should get less of.
Daily Values are based on a 2,000-calorie diet. However, your nutritional needs will likely depend on how physically active you are. Talk to your healthcare provider to see what calorie level is right for you.
Limit these Nutrients
Eating too much total fat (especially saturated fat and trans fat), cholesterol, or sodium may increase your risks of certain chronic diseases, such as heart disease, some cancers, or high blood pressure.
Try to keep these nutrients as low as possible each day.
Get Enough of these Nutrients
Americans often don’t get enough dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and potassium in their diets. These nutrients are essential for keeping you feeling strong and healthy.
Eating enough of these nutrients may improve your health and help reduce the risk of some diseases.
Why It’s Legal to Buy Toxic Products
You’d think it must be illegal to use ingredients or materials in products that are known to cause cancer or lead to neurological diseases or impaired performance. You’d think selling products containing heavy metals like lead or neurotoxins like PFOA (think Teflon) or harmful endocrine disrupting chemicals like flame retardants must be against the law.
However, the unfortunate and shocking reality is that no matter where you shop or what you pay for the products you buy, there is no overarching agency established to protect your health and ensure that products don’t contain toxic chemicals. The last time we had Chemical Reform (known as the Toxic Substances Control Act – TSCA) was 40 years ago in this country and the laws are so weak and ineffective that they have only restricted some uses of five ingredients . In fact, TSCA wasn’t even able to ban the use of asbestos, showing just how weak of a law it is. Sadly, they haven’t tried to ban another chemical since.
There’s also a Cosmetics Act on the books officially known as the Food, Drug & Cosmetics Act – FD&C. The original FD&C is still on the books and dates all the way back to 1938 so you can imagine how well that one holds up given that synthetic ingredients barely even existed back then.
MADE SAFE™ Approved Brands
If you are looking for a site that gives more information on this subject; There is a site that I like to reference when I am not sure of a new brand that I'm wanting to try, http://madesafe.org.
It's a totally free site and completely informational. This has excellent resources and information to help you dive in further to finding safe and healthy approved brands.