What is hiding in those labels?

What to avoid on food labels

This article has been researched and written by Arelang Naturals® in-house writers.

As all of us become increasingly conscious about taking supplements, we need to be even more aware of what really goes into the supplements that we blindly add to our cart and then our bodies.

If you're not reading those labels, you may be doing more harm than good! It's time to get serious about your supplement game and learn how to decode those pesky labels. Reading those labels might not sound like the most exciting activity, but trust us, it's worth it. Not only will it help you ensure you're taking the right supplements in the right amounts, but it can also help you avoid some seriously scary additives. Excess of anything is not good, and most supplement labels boast quantities of ingredients that are way beyond your body's daily requirements.

You NEED to read your labels to avoid:

Taking the wrong supplements: Not reading supplement labels can result in taking the wrong supplements, which can have negative effects on your health. This could mean wasting money on supplements that don't address your specific health needs or even taking supplements that could be harmful to your health, plus the stress toll it takes on your liver is another matter!

Consuming harmful additives: Many supplements contain harmful additives, such as preservatives and hidden sugars, that can negatively affect your body.

Allergic reactions or medication interactions: Without reading supplement labels, you may not be aware of certain ingredients in the supplement that could cause an allergic reaction or interact with other medication you are taking. This could result in serious health consequences or even life-threatening situations.

Poor quality or purity: Some supplements in the market may not be of high quality or purity. Not reading supplement labels could result in consuming low-quality supplements that may not be effective and may end up putting additional pressure on your liver.

Taking more than the recommended dose - most supplements have been formulated keeping in mind RDA (Recommended Daily Allowances) levels. While taking additional doses may not hamper health, they are not really helping with your health journey, rather adding more stress to your liver and kidneys, thereby doing more harm than good.

I know this seems like we are preaching and perhaps we are, but we are helping you identify what to spot on labels and look out for in ingredients like fillers, sweeteners, preservatives, additives etc, all of which are listed on the labels. Not particularly in words, we can understand

Additives and Fillers to Steer clear of:

Fillers are used in the manufacturing process to help cut costs or add substances to tablets and capsules. Additives help increase shelf life, bind ingredients together or improve texture, colour taste and consistency, and although some of these ingredients added to your supplements may be necessary, here are some to watch out for:

  1. Stearic Acid or Magnesium stearate - used as a binder in tablets, is a saturated, wax-like, fatty acid commonly used in the production of pharmaceutical tablets and capsules. It is made by extraction from animal or vegetable fats and oils.
  2. Cellulose or Microcrystalline cellulose is a proven filler and stabiliser in food, cosmetics, capsules and tablets.Humans cannot digest cellulose. This ingredient is simply a refined wood pulp
  3. Gelatin - is a protein made from animal collagen, usually from cows and pigs. It's commonly used to make capsules, cosmetics, ointments, and foods like gummies, jelly etc. While most vegetarians steer away from capsules and Gelatin, as they are made from animal sources, they are now quite happily gliding towards collagen supplements predominantly made from similar sources.
  4. Maltodextrin - Maltodextrin is a high glycemic index polysaccharide sugar made from starch, and it's used to improve the texture, flavour, and shelf life of many processed foods, used mostly as a binding agent for tablet formulations
  5. Silicon dioxide or Silica serves as an anticaking agent to avoid clumping. In supplements, it's used to prevent the various powdered ingredients from sticking together
  6. Titanium dioxide is a food colouring agent commonly added to pills to make them white. Concerns have been raised that it could be carcinogenic and adversely affect the immune system and digestive tract.
  7. Sorbitol or glucitol is a sugar alternative and can cause stomach cramps and create a laxative effect.

Preservatives to Watch Out For:

One of the biggest culprits to watch out for is preservatives. They are one of the most common additives found in supplements, and they are used to prevent spoilage and extend shelf life. While some are harmless, others can be downright scary! They could cause health problems such as cancer, allergic reactions, and digestive issues. Some of the preservatives to watch out for include:

  1. BHA and BHT: These are synthetic antioxidants often added to supplements and other processed foods to prevent rancidity. They have been linked to cancer, hormone disruption, and liver and kidney damage.
  2. Sodium Benzoate: This is a common preservative that is used to prevent bacterial growth in supplements and other foods. However, consuming this could lead to allergic reactions, asthma, and DNA damage.
  3. Propylparaben: This preservative prevents bacterial growth in supplements and other personal care products. Consuming it has been linked to hormone disruption, reproductive issues, and allergic reactions.
  4. Sodium Nitrite and Nitrate: These preservatives are often used in supplements and processed meats to prevent bacterial growth and maintain color. However, they can also cause cancer, particularly in the digestive system.

Remember these names, save them in your notes, or write them down so you don't forget to watch out for these not just in your supplements but also in any other packaged food item you consume.

Another sneaky ingredient to watch out for is hidden sugars. Just because a supplement is marketed as "sugar-free" doesn't mean it's free of added sugars that can lead to weight gain, inflammation, and other health problems. Keep an eye out for:

  1. High-Fructose Corn Syrup: This is a highly processed form of corn syrup used in supplements and other processed foods. Consuming it could cause obesity, insulin resistance, and other health problems, besides it also leads to adding to more sweet cravings
  2. Dextrose: This is a type of sugar derived from corn and used as a sweetener in supplements and other foods. It can lead to spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels.
  3. Maltodextrin: This is a carbohydrate derived from corn, rice, or potatoes and used as a filler or sweetener in supplements and other foods. It has a high glycemic index, which means it can cause rapid spikes in blood sugar levels.

Remember, when it comes to supplements, what you don't know can hurt you. So, be sure to read those labels carefully and make informed choices about what you put in your body. Who knows, you might just discover a new favourite supplement that doesn't contain any scary ingredients.

Ofcourse, not all supplements are created equal. Check out ärelang's range of Candyceuticals made of natural plant-based ingredients in the right quantity and quality. They're a delicious and healthy way to get the nutrients and vitamins your body needs without any scary additives. So, take a few extra seconds to read those labels and ensure you're giving your body the best possible fuel. Your body will thank you for it!

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