I'm back again to inform some and annoy others with my food related data. I'm constantly reading and learning on the subject and I do care about helping others learn about what's on your plate! I'm always reading labels and I truly believe everyone should read the labels on all foods from a box, bag or package.
In a perfect world, I would always eat foods not requiring labels at all. Like fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, unprocessed healthy meats etc. To be honest, I do all I can to make whole foods a priority in my home, but I do sometimes get lunch meat, "Back to Nature" macaroni & cheese for the kids and other items. Bella likes pudding, Kris likes Goldfish crackers and I don't always have time to make my own bread, so I must buy bread. Even a loaf of supposed whole wheat, all natural bread has a list of unnecessary ingredients in it. I'm still perplexed as to why they add soy ingredients to bread.
I'd have to grow and make absolutely everything from scratch to live in my perfect food world. I can't fit all that in, work 40+ hours a week and tend to my family too. I guess I could forgo sleeping...
Since it's an imperfect world and we are sometimes forced to buy items that are made for us. We can at least do our best to select the better option. The fewer the ingredients the better. Even the "Back to Nature" brand macaroni & cheese has some mystery ingredients but it's a better option to me than the Kraft or Velveeta brands which have the trans fats and artificial colorings.
I noticed a quick and helpful article on the 9 Ingredients to avoid in processed foods on yahoo.com. I've included the listing below copied straight from the article for your information.
Ingredient: Artificial Colors
Why it is used: Chemical compounds made from coal-tar derivatives to enhance color.
Why it is bad: Linked to allergic reactions, fatigue, asthma, skin rashes, hyperactivity and headaches.
Ingredient: Artificial Flavorings
Why it is used: Cheap chemical mixtures that mimic natural flavors.
Why it is bad: Linked to allergic reactions, dermatitis, eczema, hyperactivity and asthma. Can affect enzymes, RNA and thyroid.
Ingredient: Artificial Sweeteners (Acesulfame-K, Aspartame, Equal, Nutrasweet, Saccharin, Sweet'n Low, Sucralose, Splenda and Sorbitol)
Why it is used: Highly processed, chemically-derived, zero-calorie sweeteners found in diet foods and diet products to reduce calories per serving.
Why it is bad: Can negatively impact metabolism. Some have been linked to cancer, dizziness hallucinations and headaches.
Ingredient: Benzoate Preservatives (BHT, BHA, TBHQ)
Why it is used: Compounds that preserve fats and prevent them from becoming rancid.
Why it is bad: May result in hyperactivity, angiodema, asthma, rhinitis, dermatitis, tumors and urticaria. Can affect estrogen balance and levels.
Ingredient: Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO)
Why it is used: Chemical that boosts flavor in many citric-based fruit and soft drinks.
Why it is bad: Increases triglycerides and cholesterol. Can damage liver, testicles, thyroid, heart and kidneys.
Ingredient: High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
Why it is used: Cheap alternative to cane and beet sugar. Sustains freshness in baked goods. Blends easily in beverages to maintain sweetness.
Why it is bad: May predispose the body to turn fructose into fat. Increases risk for Type-2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke and cancer. Isn't easily metabolized by the liver.
Ingredient: Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
Why it is used: Flavor enhancer in restaurant food, salad dressings, chips, frozen entrees, soups and other foods.
Why it is bad: May stimulate appetite and cause headaches, nausea, weakness, wheezing, edema, change in heart rate, burning sensations and difficulty breathing.
Why it is used: An indigestible fat substitute used primarily in foods that are fried and baked.
Why it is bad: Inhibits absorption of some nutrients. Linked to gastrointestinal disease, diarrhea, gas, cramps, bleeding and incontinence.
Ingredient: Shortening, Hydrogenated and Partially Hydrogenated Oils
Why it is used: Industrially created fats used in more than 40,000 food products in the U.S. Cheaper than most other oils.
Why it is bad: Contain high levels of trans fats, which raise bad cholesterol and lower good cholesterol, contributing to the risk of heart disease.
There are a plethora more ingredients that should be listed here. I'll do my research and get them listed for those that want to know.