lemon tea served on teacup
Diet, Education on Diabetes

4 Nutrients for Insulin Sensitivity

Here are 4 nutrients that promote insulin sensitivity and blood glucose balance.

Having good insulin sensitivity means glucose can move around the body and be used more efficiently. This reduces your risk of getting type 2 diabetes, and supports your overall health.

* These nutrients ARE NOT ‘cures’ of diabetes, they can be useful in managing glucose levels.

1. Cinnamon

jerk chicken - insulin sensitivity

Cinnamon mimics insulin, meaning receptors are more sensitive and glucose can move into cells easily. This helps to prevent hyperglycaemia as less glucose remains in the bloodstream.

It is really easy to get in your diet, sprinkle some cinnamon powder in your porridge, coffee or on toast. Also use either powder or sticks in your recipes. Cinnamon is delicious in asian dishes, jerk chicken and chilli-con carnie!

2. Chromium

Chromium is a mineral linked to glucose homeostasis in the body. It increases the activity of the enzyme tyrosine-kinase which increases the uptake of glucose into cells.

Broccoli, brazil nuts, apples, potatoes and lean meats are all very high in chromium!

3. Berberine

Berberine is a phytochemical present in many plants. It has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity through receptor activity, as well as regulating the amount of insulin secreted from the pancreas (in non-type 1 diabetics).

Herbs that contain berberine include barberry, goldenseal, Oregon grape and turmeric.

4. Omega-3 fatty acids

chia seeds - insulin sensitivity

Omega-3 fatty acids have been seen to amplify insulin sensitivity. This may be due to its structural role in cell membranes and insulin receptors. Omega-3 is also vital for brain and eye health, as well as reducing inflammation.

Have 3-4 portions of oily fish per week (salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines and herring). Vegetarian sources include 1 tablespoon of chia seeds, flaxseeds and walnuts.

Thank you for reading 4 Nutrients for Insulin Sensitivity! Be sure to subscribe and follow me on Instagram!

If you liked this post, be sure to check out Insulin Resistance and Inflammation and 5 ways to reduce your risk of getting Type 2 diabetes

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Diet, Education on Diabetes

The Keto Diet and Type 2 diabetes

The keto diet can help the management of type 2 diabetes. Make sure you have read The Keto Diet 101 before reading the rest of this post!

How eating keto can impact blood glucose

Quite a lot of people living with type 2 are overweight, so eating a high fat diet might seem confusing and unhelpful.

red meat - keto diet

The reason the keto diet can be useful in type 2 is because it causes our body to use our fat stores for energy, rather than glucose.

Eating high fat and reducing carbohydrate intake can help to promote weight loss and regulate blood sugar levels. It is important to distinguish between the types of fat you should be consuming if following the keto diet. Avoid having a diet high in red meat and processed/packaged foods. These foods contain high levels of saturated fat, which we do not want too much of.

Instead, prioritise eating extra virgin olive oil, avocado, nut butters, nuts and seeds and hummus for example.

Things to consider

Eating keto also promotes gluconeogenesis (when the body makes glucose from other sources), and can cause an increase in cortisol in some people. In other words, gluconeogenesis and high cortisol can also cause blood sugar levels to spike.

For this reason, eating keto can make little difference to sugar levels and can leave some people feeling fatigued. While the keto diet can be helpful for some, it is not a ‘cure all’ (no diet is!).

nutritionist - keto diet

There are other diets that can help to drastically lower blood glucose in type 2 diabetes. This can include increasing high quality fats and proteins, and swapping to lower GI carbohydrates. (I.e. reducing carb intake, but not as drastically as when eating keto).

Trial and error is the best way to figure out what dietary model suits you best. Some people living with type 2 love the keto diet and reap the benefits. So giving it a go may be worth it.

If you have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes, changing your diet is vital for your health and the management of your blood glucose levels. So chat to your doctor and see a nutritionist if you can. This is the best way to figure out which diet is best for you, and it is a decision you need to make.

Thank you so much for reading The Keto Diet and Type 2 diabetes! I hope you found this useful and it answered some of your questions! Be sure to subscribe and follow me on Instagram!

If you liked this post, be sure to check out Gluten – what is the big deal? and How to remove gluten from your diet

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Diet, Education on Diabetes

The Keto Diet 101

The Keto Diet is very popular at the moment, with people trying it for quick weight loss or the management of different diseases.

There is lots to know about this diet so I am writing multiple posts to provide you with everything you need to know!

What is the Keto Diet

avocado - keto diet

The Keto Diet is when fat is the main food group consumed. Roughly 75% of calories consumed are from fat, 20% from protein, and only 5% from carbohydrates.

After a few days of eating keto, our body enters a state called ketosis. Ketosis is when our body is using fat as our main energy source, rather than carbohydrates. We begin to use ketones rather than glucose at a cellular level.

Our body also increases gluconeogeneis, which is when glucose is created from other sources (such as fat and protein).

Most people experience some symptoms for the first few days of eating keto. This can include fatigue, brain fog, cravings and GI symptoms. This is important to know if try eating keto.

Potential benefits

  • Weight loss – eating keto can cause rapid weight loss. This is because we carry less water when we consume less carbohydrates. Furthermore, the body starts to use up our fat stores for energy.
  • Increasing brain function – The brain can use ketones more efficiently which can decrease brain fog, fatigue and increase concentration for some people.
  • Management of some diseases – Research has shown the keto diet can help to manage childhood epilepsy and type 2 diabetes (more to come on this on another post). Some research has also demonstrated benefits in some cancers, but more research is needed for us to know for sure.

Potential cons

restaurants - keto diet
  • Nutritional deficiencies – Removing carbohydrates for a long time can result in B vitamin and fibre deficiency. This can cause problems such as fatigue, brain fog, constipation, some skin conditions and many more.
  • Increasing ‘bad’ cholesterol – Some people turn to consuming more red meat and processed foods. These foods can increase our LDL cholesterol, potentially increasing the risk of atherosclerosis and heart disease.
  • Impacting kidney function, bone density and potentially increasing the risk of some cancers – This is also linked to food choices when eating keto. Eating a lot of processed foods and meats can be very detrimental to our health.
  • It’s hard to follow – It obviously takes a lot of will power to consistently eat keto. It can also limit socialising as most restaurants do not cater for the keto diet.
  • It’s not for everyone – There are people who swear by it, but not everyone feels the benefits of keto! No diet is a miracle cure for everyone, always remember that.

Before making any drastic decisions about your diet, always talk to a nutritionist and/or doctor. They will help you to weigh the pros and cons, and to ultimately make the best decision for your health.

Thank you for reading my Keto Diet 101, keep an eye out for more posts about this topic! Be sure to subscribe and follow me on Instagram!

If you liked this post, be sure to check out Diabulimia 101! and Insulin Resistance and Inflammation

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Diet, Education on Diabetes

Leaky Gut Syndrome 101

Leaky gut syndrome is a hypothetical condition with symptoms being extremely common. Leaky gut can often cause a myriad of symptoms in the gut and across the body.

What is it?

bacteria - leaky gut syndrome

The intestines have a barrier made up of cells which separates the lining of the gut and the bloodstream. Normally this layer of cells are tightly packed together, so we only absorb nutrients and not harmful substances.

Leaky gut syndrome is when the tight junctions between cells become loose, increasing absorption of harmful substances. This can result in toxins and bacteria leaking into the bloodstream, creating inflammation and symptoms across the body.

Symptoms can include:

  • Diarrhoea/constipation
  • Bloating
  • Cramping
  • Excessive flatulence
  • Brain fog
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Joint/muscle pain
  • Skin conditions e.g. acne and eczema

Due to such a variety of symptoms, people often do not know they have leaky gut.

Consequences of leaky gut syndrome

Inflammation created by leaky gut can be associated with:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis)
  • Coeliac disease
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Depression
  • Obesity
  • Autoimmune conditions (e.g. Type 1 diabetes, Grave’s disease etc)

Preventing leaky gut syndrome

antibiotics - leaky gut syndrome

The following can be associated with leaky gut:

  • Antibiotic use
  • Certain medications (PPI’s)
  • Chronic stress
  • Alcohol
  • Environmental toxin exposure
  • Gluten consumption
  • Dysbiosis (overgrowth of bad bacteria in the gut)
  • Nutrient deficiencies

The following steps can help to decrease the risk of getting leaky gut:

1.Remove foods that can trigger inflammation. This can include going gluten-free, decreasing alcohol and caffeine consumption.

fermented foods - preventing leaky gut syndrome

2. Replace essential nutrients needed to support digestive health. This can be achieved by increasing fibre and prebiotic foods (garlic, onion, leek, asparagus, banana) to support digestion, absorption and elimination. 

3. Reinoculate the gut with beneficial bacteria. Consuming fermented foods such as kimchi, kombucha and sauerkraut and/or taking a prebiotic supplement can help to reinoculate the gut. 

4. Repair the gut by consuming vital nutrients needed for the intestinal barrier. Increasing fresh fruit and vegetables for vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals can help to increase nutrients for the intestinal barrier. 

5. Rebalance and decrease stress load. Chronic stress can decrease blood flow to the gut, linking to leaky gut. Use breathing techniques and relaxation methods to aid stress relief.

Thank you for reading Leaky Gut Syndrome 101! Be sure to subscribe and follow me on Instagram!

If you liked this post, be sure to check out Oxidative Stress 101 and Metabolic syndrome 101!

coffee beans and white mug
Diet, Education on Diabetes

Coffee and diabetes

Drinking coffee has a big potential to impact glucose control. The impact depends on a variety of factors, like the type of coffee you’re drinking, your genetics and time of day.

Keep reading to see how drinking caffeine might be impacting your levels and how to minimise this!

Caffeine and sugar levels

caffeine/coffee and sugar levels

Caffeine can make it harder for some people to keep sugar levels stable.

This is because caffeine causes adrenaline to spike, which can raise blood glucose and decrease insulin sensitivity. This means caffeine can make it harder for glucose to move into cells.

This response is varied across individuals, some people are extremely sensitive to the side of effects of caffeine and struggle to control sugar levels. It is worth keeping a close eye on sugar levels when drinking coffee so you can make the right adjustments.

Benefits of drinking coffee

  • Nutrients – Coffee contains polyphenols which is an important antioxidant in preventing inflammation and chronic illnesses. Good quality coffee also contain magnesium which is vital for relaxation and the uptake of glucose into cells.
  • It may be beneficial to heart health – studies have shown coffee drinkers are at less risk of getting clots, arrhythmia, heart failure and strokes.
  • Coffee is delicious – looking forward to having one or two coffees a day is absolutely fine!

Cons of drinking coffee

starbucks coffee
  • Milk and syrups – takeout coffees that are mostly milk and sugar are far from ideal. The high content of sugar completely removes the benefits of coffee. So remember to save these drinks for the occasion.
  • Getting hooked on caffeine – we don’t want to start relying on caffeine to get through our daily lives. Drinking too much coffee can also impact quality of sleep, which creates more risk of health problems.
  • Poor sources of coffee can contain harmful chemicals. Cheap instant coffee contain pesticides and preservatives. It might be worth going for more expensive coffees and organic brands.

Good quality coffee brands to check out:

  • Lifeboost Dark Roast Coffee
  • Bulletproof The Original
  • Kicking Horse Coffee “Kick Ass”
  • Equal Exchange Organic
  • The Organic Coffee Co. Ground

To summarise, if you’re a coffee drinker try to drink one or two cups of good quality coffee and avoid sugars, syrups and lots of milk. Also try to stop drinking coffee at around 3pm so it doesn’t impact sleep.

Thank you for reading coffee and diabetes. Be sure to subscribe and follow me on Instagram!

If you liked this post be sure to check out Is stress making your glucose levels impossible to control? and 5 ways to reduce your risk of getting Type 2 diabetes

Diet, Education on Diabetes

Is ‘diabetic’ chocolate really healthier?

While the concept of ‘diabetic’ chocolate is thoughtful, it can actually do more harm than good.

When I was younger I mainly got given ‘diabetic’ chocolate, particularly at Christmas and Easter time and all I can remember is feeling left out and that it tastes horrible!

So from my own experience and research, lets look into why ‘diabetic’ or sugar free chocolate is not any better for you than normal chocolate.

What is ‘diabetic ‘ chocolate?

what is diabetic chocolate

This is essentially when a product has very little carbohydrate or sugar in it, which makes it ‘appropriate’ for those living with diabetes.

These products were created to help people manage diabetes while allowing some room for chocolate and treats. However, research soon exposed the loop wholes in these products, including inaccurate health promises.

In fact, labelling a product as ‘diabetic’ is now against the law. This is because research has shown absolutely no benefit in consuming diabetic chocolate over normal chocolate, and showing it can actually cause more damage to the body.

Why is it detrimental?

why is diabetic chocolate not great

Diabetic chocolate may be low in sugar, but it is still high in fat, calories and additives. Sugar is replaced with artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, which can have some nasty effects in the body.

The artificial sweeteners and additives can cause severe stomach upset, including bloating, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. Furthermore, additives can still actually cause blood sugar spikes and increase insulin resistance. The theory behind this states that artificial sweeteners closely resemble glucose, which confuses the body into thinking blood glucose is high, when in fact it is not. This process is linked to worsening insulin resistance.

Finally, it just doesn’t taste the same and can cause people living with diabetes to feel left out.

Opt for this instead

My simple advise is to just have normal chocolate and treats when you fancy them. Of course have chocolate on the occasion and use carb counting to keep your levels in range.

All products have the carb and sugar content listed on the packaging, so use it! Also have your treats while staying active. I like to go for a nice post-meal walk with family and friends to keep my levels balanced. It is possible to eat ‘like a normal person’ while living with diabetes, it just takes some extra time and planning.

Never let living with diabetes stop you from having fun, just be mindful and learn about your body. Tell the people around you what you need, whether thats asking them to walk with you, or simply educating them about what diabetics can eat (which is anything with the correct prep!).

Lastly, tell your family members to get you normal chocolate on special occasions. I am sure they would much rather get you something you like! 🙂

person writing on brown printer paper

Thank you for reading Is ‘diabetic chocolate’ really healthier? I hope you found this useful and informative! Be sure to subscribe and follow me on Instagram!

If you liked this post, be sure to check out How to handle a hypo mid-workout! and 5 Minute Healthy Chocolate Dessert!

Diet

How to remove gluten from your diet

Last week I talked about what circumstances someone might want to stop eating gluten in Gluten – what is the big deal?

So I thought it would be helpful to provide guidance on what you need to think about if you have decided to see if gluten is causing symptoms you are experiencing.

The process:

Remove all sources of gluten for up to 6 weeks, and then reintroduce different sources of gluten week by week to see if any symptoms reappear. For example, the 7th week you eat only gluten bread and record your symptoms. Week 8, you stop eating bread and start eating gluten pasta. Repeat until necessary.

Sometimes certain foods can cause symptoms while others do not, so it is important to see what foods specifically cause you discomfort.

Learn what contains gluten

remove gluten

Grains that contain gluten include:

  • Wheat
  • Spelt
  • Rye
  • Barley
  • Malt
  • Wheat starch

Foods that contain gluten:

  • Beer and ale
  • Bread
  • Bulgar wheat
  • Cakes
  • Cereal
  • Cookies/biscuits
  • Crackers
  • Flour
  • Gravy
  • Pastry
  • Soy sauce
  • Most packaged snack bars, crisps etc

Make sure you check ingredients lists for sources of gluten. I would recommend checking all sauces, spreads and packaged foods as gluten containing ingredients are often in these products.

Focus on what you can have

gluten free foods - remove gluten

Rather than dwelling on what you can’t have, focus on what you can have. Remember this is temporary to see if symptoms improve. And if your symptoms do improve, you are gaining so much more than you think you are ‘losing’.

Here are grains that are gluten free:

  • Rice
  • Quinoa
  • Oats
  • Buckwheat
  • Amaranth
  • Corn
  • Lentils
  • Potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes

Gluten free flour – here is a little tip of mine, if you are living with diabetes and want to stick to brown flours that digest slower, opt for brown rice flour, amaranth flour, or simply put some oats in a blender to make your own. The gluten free four alternatives from free-from isles will be white flour and could contribute towards sugar spikes. So sticking to brown rice, oats and amaranth may help to keep your sugar levels more stable!

Get organised

Write a shopping list: Write a shopping list or save online shops to make sure there are always meal and snack options. There is nothing worse than being hungry and having nothing available. This also makes it more likely you will give up and consume something that contains gluten!

get organised - removing gluten

Find the free-from isle: In every supermarket there will be an isle that has all of the free-from products. There will be an alternative for pretty much anything here, so make sure you know where it is to make your life easier!

Keep track: I’m going to be completely honest, some gluten free products are horrible! But with that in mind, it is really important to keep a list of the free-from products that are delicious (they do exist I promise!).

Find some awesome recipes: Or swap ingredients from your old recipes! For example, I always use brown rice flour for cakes, pastry and sauces, and red lentil pasta.

I also recommend purchasing the cook book ‘How to make anything gluten free’ by Becky Excell. This will help with both gluten free cooking and baking 🙂

Thank you for reading how to remove gluten from your diet! I hope you found this useful and if you decide to give gluten free a go, good luck! Be sure to subscribe and follow me on Instagram!

If you liked this post, be sure to check out My Type 1 diabetes diagnosis story! and Apple and Blackberry Crumble

wheat growing in field in countryside
Diet, Education on Diabetes

Gluten – what is the big deal?

Gluten is a very controversial topic, with ‘experts’ claiming we have to quit gluten in order to be healthy. So here is everything you need to know about gluten, and whether or not you should consider going gluten free!

What is it?

sources of gluten

Gluten is a storage protein found in certain grains.

It is essentially is what makes foods stretchy and expand. Sometimes, gluten can be linked to causing leaky gut syndrome due to its expanding properties.

Leaky gut syndrome is when cells in the gut lining lose tightness, and allow fragments of food to leak into the blood. This is linked to a variety of health conditions, including autoimmune diseases.

Grains that contain gluten include:

  • Wheat
  • Spelt
  • Rye
  • Barley
  • Malt
  • Wheat starch

E.g. Pasta, bread, flour, cakes, biscuits, pastry and ready-made sauces.

Coeliac’s disease

Coeliac’s disease is where the body attacks the lining of the digestive tract in response to gluten consumption.

This creates some severe symptoms, including:

  • Severe or occasional diarrhoea, constipation, bloating or wind
  • Persistent nausea and vomiting
  • Recurrent stomach pain or cramping
  • Iron, B12 or B9 (folate) deficiency
  • Anaemia
  • Tiredness
  • Mouth ulcers
gluten free products

If individuals with coeliac’s continue to consume gluten, damage to the digestive tract will become so severe, nutrients will not be absorbed. This can result in multiple nutrient deficiencies which can lead to further discomfort and the onset of other health conditions.

Therefore, it is imperative that coeliac’s sufferers completely avoid gluten to stay healthy.

Gluten intolerance (non-coeliac)

Some people can have what we call intolerance or sensitivity. This is essentially when consuming gluten causes a variety of symptoms, without the presence of antibodies or long-term damage. The reason why is not fully known, but it could be linked to leaky gut syndrome.

Symptoms of sensitivity include: (these are usually less severe than symptoms in coeliac’s)

  • Bloating
  • Excessive flatulence
  • Diarrhoea or constipation
  • Nausea
  • Brain fog/ poor concentration
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches

Some people also benefit from quitting gluten with health conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome and chronic skin conditions like eczema. Research suggests that gluten can make inflammation worse in the body, and can increase autoantibodies seen in some autoimmune conditions.

If you do not have any digestive issues or health conditions, there is essentially no point in quitting gluten. Individuals can be perfectly healthy consuming gluten, so please do not go down the route of thinking cutting out certain food groups makes you ‘healthy’.

My general advice, is if you have any digestive issues or unexplained symptoms, go and see your doctor and consider quitting gluten for 6-8 weeks to see if this relieves symptoms. If it does not relieve symptoms, you are fine to continue consuming gluten.

Gluten and type 1 diabetes

type 1 diabetes and gluten

Interestingly, type 1 diabetes and coeliac’s disease seem to be linked. Many people living with type 1 also have coeliac’s.

Research has shown that the autoantibodies (antibodies that cause the onset of autoimmune diseases) seen in type 1 diabetes are very similar to those seen in coeliac’s.

So if you are living with type 1 diabetes, I would absolutely recommend asking your doctor for a coeliac’s blood test.

If this comes back negative, but you suffer from any of the gluten sensitivity symptoms listed above, I would definitely quitting gluten for 6-8 weeks (the longer the better) to see if this helps.

Thank you for reading gluten – what is the big deal? I really hope you learnt something new and have a better understanding of gluten! Be sure to subscribe and follow me on Instagram!

If you liked this post, be sure to check out Autoimmune conditions linked with type 1 diabetes and Keeping your feet healthy with diabetes!

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Diet, Recipes

Sausage Casserole Recipe!

roast potatoes with sausage casserole

This week I am sharing an amazing, easy Sausage Casserole recipe. All you have to do is roughly fry everything off, and stick it in the oven! I also love this recipe because it is packed with fibre which is essential for digestion, glucose control and keeping the microflora healthy in the gut.

I have put some of my favourite vegetables in the ingredients list, but feel free to use any vegetables of your choice and preference. I also tend to serve this dish with either roast potatoes or brown rice.

So keep reading for the recipe and macros, make sure you give this Sausage Casserole a try!

Serves 4

Macros:

Calories: 330
Carbohydrates: 32g
of which sugars: 5g
Fibre: 11g
Protein: 17g
Fat: 15g

(Macros are without potatoes)

Ingredients:

x12 chicken sausages
olive oil
1 pint chicken stock
1 tin tomatoes
75g red lentils
120g kidney beans
120g cannellini beans
1 large white onion
3 cloves garlic
1 large leek
2 large carrots
1/2 broccoli
1/2 fennel
2 handfuls of Spinach or kale
1/2 bunch fresh coriander
2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp oregano
3 tsp paprika
salt/ black pepper to taste

Method:

1.Preheat the oven to 190 degrees

  1. Firstly brown the sausages in a frying pan and place them at the bottom of the casserole dish (they will finish cooking in the oven).
chicken sausages - sausage casserole

3. Next, heat the olive oil in a large frying pot and fry off the onion and garlic. Then add all of the vegetables and seasonings into the pan. Fry everything off for around 5 minutes, add in the stock and tinned tomatoes. Let this simmer for around 10 minutes.

4. After leaving the casserole to simmer, stir in the lentils, kidney beans and Cannellini beans. Transfer the casserole into the casserole dish on top of the sausages.

red lentils - sausage casserole

5. Put the lid on your casserole pot and cook for 60 minutes in the oven.

6. After 60 minutes, take the dish out of the oven and stir in the spinach/kale and fresh coriander.

7. Now serve up with your choice of roast potatoes or rice!

8. Next, enjoy! 🙂

sausage casserole served up

Thank you so much for reading my sausage casserole recipe! Let me know when you give it a go and I hope you love this dish as much as I do! Be sure to subscribe below and follow me on Instagram!

If you liked this post, be sure to check out my Banana Loaf Recipe! and How to ace your diabetic review!

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Diet, Education on Diabetes, Top Tips

How to read food labelling effectively!

Knowing how to read food labelling is a great skill to have in order to achieve better health.

I just want to note that this post is not to scare you about consuming certain products, it is a guide to choosing products with less processed ingredients if this is what you are interested in.

Knowing where to start can be confusing and misleading! So keep reading for some basic tips to make sure you are buying products that are better quality and more natural.

1. Traffic light labelling

traffic light food labelling

Most products now use traffic light labelling to give you a quick insight into the general nutritional values it provides.

While this can be extremely useful, I would not recommend assuming that a product is ‘healthy’ just because it has all green sections. Use this as a starting basis, and always turn the packet over and look at the rest of the information provided.

I recommend using the traffic light system for packaged products, such as snack bars or crisps. Products like this tend to be higher in saturated fats and sugar, if this is a concern for you then look no further than traffic light labelling.

I find the traffic light system detrimental when buying natural products such as nuts and seeds. Of course products like this are high in fat and show as ‘red’. This does not mean nuts and seeds are ‘bad’ or ‘unhealthy’, they are high in good fats and are majorly beneficial to the body.

So, to summarise, the traffic light system can be useful, but do not let it cause you to draw a false conclusion about a product too quickly. Read point 2 for the next step!

2. Ingredients list

peanut butter, food labelling

Lets get straight to it, the first 3 ingredients are key when deciding whether or not to buy a product.

If the first 3 ingredients are natural and necessary for the product, it is likely to be good for your health. For example, if peanut butter has 96% peanuts, sustainable palm oil and a pinch of sea salt, this is a product you should go for.

However, if the peanut butter has more than 3 ingredients (which just is not necessary), and some are artificial, there is probably a better option out there! For example peanut butter that has 90% peanuts, sugar, hydrogenated oil and table salt.

A general rule of thumb, if the product has an ingredients list longer than your arm, there is probably a better option out there!

3. E-number look out!

A lot of people simply look for ingredients starting with ‘E’, and assume if there aren’t any, it is additive free!

But unfortunately it is not quite this simple. Manufacturers can use the E-code, actual name of the additive, OR the trade name of an additive. For example, Aspartame could be labelled as Aspartame, E951 or Nutrasweet.

If you would like to limit additives, try to avoid products with really long ingredients lists and always look up ingredients that you do not recognise!

4. Misleading food labels

low sugar, food labelling

A lot of manufacturers use certain colours and phrases on packaging that pull you into a false sense of security.

For example:

  • ‘Low calorie’
  • ‘Sugar-free’
  • ‘Low-fat’
  • ‘Natural’

A product might be ‘sugar-free’, but what has the sugar been replaced with? Most of the time sweeteners are added to decrease the amount of calories. This is a great point to know because you have the choice to consume the version with natural sugar, or the version with sweeteners. I would personally recommend going for products with more natural ingredients.

I also wanted to point out that consuming additives once is a while is not going to cause any damage, so please allow yourself a treat every now and then!

cardboard present box with postcard on table

Thank you so much for reading my tips on how to read food labelling effectively! I really hope you found it useful and please drop me any questions! Be sure to subscribe and follow me on Instagram!

If you liked this blog, be sure to read 5 ways to improve digestion! and my Simple guide to fitness with diabetes!