Here is my rant for the week. Or perhaps century.
I implore you, beg you and simply ask you to read the ingredients on everything that you buy. As it was put somewhere recently (I do not recall the source) "Read ingredients like your life depends on it, because it does."
Here is one example. Today I was shopping for a few things at Wegmans and I like cheap things so when I saw a bunch of $0.39 cans of vegetables, my interest was immediately peeked. I wanted to purchase some corn for that evening's dinner and as luck would have it, whole corn in a can was before my eyes for only pennies! For some reason, I chose to read the ingredients, which seems so silly when the label says "Whole Corn," right? I'm immensely glad I turned the can because among the corn, water and salt there was something else: sugar. Now, can anyone tell me what the logical reason is behind putting sugar in a can of corn? Does it help the corn stay "sweet?" Does it keep it from getting too yellow? Is it a new fangled preservative? I don't know about you, but when I eat a fresh ear of corn, I don't normally reach for the bowl of sugar and slop it all over the kernels. If I had not had that momentary insight to turn the can around and read it, I could have unintentionally been adding some amount of sugar to an otherwise non-sugary meal. Gross.
Another similar example comes from Wal-Mart. I used to buy my beans there because they were the cheapest around (in canned form) so I would stock up whenever I went there. It never would have occurred to me to read the ingredients of a can of beans because like a can of corn, what else could you possibly need in there? One day, at home, we decided to read the label and what did I find? High fructose corn syrup! What is THAT doing in a can of beans?! When did it become acceptable for companies to add non-essential ingredients to our food?
Before I go on, I must make it very clear that I'm not perfect (I know, right?) Obviously, I let those HFCS riddled beans come into my home in the first place because I did not take the time to read the label. But, I am actively working at being a better consumer. I now even read labels of items I have previously purchased, just to make sure the ingredients haven't changed. (One such product is the Cascadian Farm Purely O's cereal.As I remember it, they used to be called "Simply O's" and did not include any form of sweetener on their ingredient panel. I remember this because this is the first O shaped cereal I purchased for Heidi to eat during the time when I was not giving her any added sugar in her diet. When I went to get this product for Piper, I was very surprised to see the change in ingredients.)
The point is, advertisers and companies don't want you to read the labels of their products because then you might not actually buy them. They want to keep you as focused on the front of the box/can/package as they possibly can so that you falsely believe that what is pictured on the item is what's actually in it. Please put on your thinking caps when you enter the grocery store. Teach your children the importance of reading labels. You can probably make a game out of finding the product with the least number of ingredients! When in doubt, remember this: Buy ingredients, not the finished product.