American Council on Exercise by American Council on Exercise

Reading food labelsIn an effort to build awareness around what’s in the food and drinks we’re consuming, Citizens for Health has declared April 11, 2013, “Read Your Labels Day.” On this day, Americans are encouraged to read the labels on products in their kitchens and the grocery store and scout out the “Top 10 Ingredients to Avoid.” When you find one of these sweeteners, preservatives or chemical additives in a product, Citizens for Health asks you to take a picture of the label and share it on Instagram using the hashtag #ReadYourLabels. By doing so, you can help make others aware of the types of food and drinks in which these harmful ingredients are found.

Here’s the list of top 10 additives to watch out for:

#1: High fructose corn syrup
#2: Aspartame
#3: Hydrolyzed protein
#4: Autolyzed yeast
#5: Monosodium glutamate
#6: Potassium bromate
#7: BHA and BHT
#9: Trans fat
#10: Artificial colors

“Harmful food additives can contribute to many serious medical conditions that include diabetes, obesity and heart disease,” notes Harvard M.D., Dr. Eva Selhub. “Eliminating these ‘top 10’ additives from your diet is an excellent start to healthier eating.”

“This project is a great way to help people gain a better understanding about the foods they eat and recognize ingredients used as preservatives to determine, at least in part, the extent to which their food is processed,” says Gina M. Crome, registered dietitian and ACE-certified Personal Trainer. “Although a number of additives on the list are generally recognized as safe by the FDA, this determination is based only on current scientific research. Food additive risks can’t be completely eliminated as new data becomes available. The best defense against potential risk begins with educational awareness activities—such as this program. Consumers may also want to consider increasing their intake of fresh, whole foods that are as close to their natural state as possible.”

For more detailed information about each of these 10 ingredients to avoid, including why to avoid them and what they’re used for, check out, a nonprofit organization dedicated to informing consumers about food-safety issues.


4/11 Declared National "Read Your Labels Day" by Citizens for Health

FDA: Overview of Food Additives & Colors