We read the label: «contains …» «does not contain …»


At first glance, this marking seems to be very simple. «Does not contain …» — does it really mean that it does not contain? But not always!

“Does not contain...»

For example, a food or drink label might say “No Artificial Preservatives,” but the product might contain salt added specifically as a preservative. Even a product such as «non-alcoholic» beer can still contain some alcohol. And even if the alcohol content in such beer should be less than 0.05%, even such a value can threaten the health of people suffering from alcoholism. If you liked a product labeled «Does not contain …», then it is best to look at its composition in order to understand how this inscription is true.

«Gluten Free»

Gluten is a special type of protein found in wheat, oats and barley. In patients with celiac disease, gluten can cause severe inflammation of the lining of the digestive tract and can lead to poor absorption of nutrients.

Patients with celiac disease need to maintain a diet that is completely gluten-free. There are more and more gluten-free foods on the shelves these days, such as cookies and muffins, breakfast cereals and crispbread made from cereals (maize flour and rice) suitable for consumption by people who avoids gluten. Celiac disease agencies have a complete list of foods that are suitable for those on a gluten-free diet. It is recommended that infants under six months of age be fed gluten-free foods; it is especially important to follow these recommendations if other family members suffer from celiac disease.

«Lactose-Free» and «Lactose-Reduced»food composition

Some of us are unable to digest or have difficulty digesting the sugar in milk called “lactose”. In such people, milk sugar passes undigested into the large intestine, where it becomes an excellent breeding ground for all sorts of bacteria that feed on lactose and produce gases, from which our intestines swell, and we can feel its spasms. To avoid such manifestations, some people need to completely eliminate lactose from their diet, and for some it is enough not to exceed a certain amount. People with lactose intolerance should, in the first place, refrain from taking milk. Fortunately, there are alternatives, such as soy, oat and rice milk and yogurt, which are basically lactose-free, which manufacturers usually tell you loudly on the labels. Some products may be labeled «Lactose Reduced». There are no laws regulating the use of such descriptors, but the Food Standards Agency (EC) recommends that such products contain 25% less lactose than basic ones. But there are also products that contain 95% less lactose.

If you are lactose intolerant at all, then you should obviously eliminate lactose-containing foods from your diet entirely. If, after all, a little lactose does not harm you, then you can determine the allowable amount by trial and error. For all inquiries regarding foodstuffs labeled «lactose-reduced», we advise you to contact the manufacturer directly for the specific lactose content information you are interested in.

Source: Adapted from How to Read Labels by Amanda Ursell

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