Do You Know Nutrition: Simple rules for buying healthy

By Phylis Canion
July 29, 2014 at 2:29 a.m.

I would like for you to list simple rules for buying healthy. Something I can cut out and hang on my fridge so that my entire family can read and understand.

While there are many things that I can list, I will condense this into eight rules that can guide you to purchasing better foods and making healthier choices that will support a healthier mind and body. These are not in order of importance - all are equally important.

If you do not know what it is, do not buy it. Do you know what butyl formate is?

If you cannot pronounce it, best not to eat it. Can you say tertiary butylhydroquinone? And just an FYI - it is a preservative used in many foods, baby skin care products, cosmetics and varnish. OK. I do have two exceptions to this rule - quinoa, pronounced keen-wa and Acai, pronounced ah-saah-eee - are both very healthy.

If the label lists a number, do not buy it. Real food does not list a number on the ingredient list. Have you ever seen red coloring No. 2 listed on a head of cabbage?

If an ingredient ends in a-t-e do not e-a-t it. Avoid artificial ingredients like methyl acetate, acetylated starch phosphate and the list goes on.

If it says enriched, do not eat it. Simply stated enriched means stripped of all of its nutrients.

Avoid ingredients that are acronyms. TBHQ, EDTA, BHT, MSG, EDTA and BHA.

Don't eat it if it has more than four syllables. Ever thought about this one? Cabbage, kale, carrots, beets, lettuce, beans, squash, tomatoes, broccoli, pears, apples, grapes.

If a food label has more than five ingredients, do not buy it and certainly do not eat it.

I do hope this helps simplify your shopping list.

Thought for the week: Fear is a prison.

Phylis B. Canion is a doctor of naturopathic medicine and is a certified nutritional consultant; email her at This column is for nutritional information only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure.



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