Do you check the labels on your food before you buy it, or do you just chuck it into your trolley without thinking? I’ve always checked the labels on certain things like canned vegetables, dried fruits and other packaged food to make sure they don’t contain any unnecessary additives. However, I must admit there are certain foods I buy every time I go shopping without even thinking about what they contain.

Over the past few years I’ve become more and more conscious of what I put into my body but it was only when I had to start feeding a 6 month old baby that I really began to take notice of every single ingredient listed on every single packet I bought, and it dawned on me: if I wouldn’t feed something to my baby, why would I feed it to myself?

Do you know what “Mono- and Diacetyl Tartaric Acid Esters of Mono- and Diglycerides of Fatty Acids” are? No? Well, you might just find them in your favourite, shop-bought biscuits!

I mentioned in my post yesterday that I found some gluten-  and dairy-free biscuits containing some pretty worrying ingredients. I’m sure a lot of people (myself included) would assume a ‘free-from’ biscuit is the healthier option, but look at the ingredients:

Maize Starch, Sugar, Soya Flour, Water, Palm Oil, Sugar Syrup, Salt, Flavourings, Raising Agent: Sodium Hydrogen Carbonate.

Here’s what bothers me about this list:

Sugar: We all know sugar is bad for us, but I don’t think we appreciate just how bad it is. I have to admit sugar is one of my main weaknesses and yet it’s disgusting stuff. It’s loaded with empty calories, robs the body of nutrients and can cause all sorts of health problems from headaches, bad skin, aching joints, candida overgrowth to more serious conditions such as diabetes. To make matters worse, it is an opiate which makes it addictive and hard to give up.

I could rant on about sugar forever…but I’ll leave that to a later post. Something for you all to look forward to!

Sugar Syrup: More nutrient robbing, refined sugar.

Palm Oil: It is shocking just how many products contain palm oil. My problem with this ingredient isn’t really to do with health, but rather to do with the environmental impact of using it, as explained here at

Thousands of kilometres of pristine rainforest is slashed and burned in order to make way for oil palm plantations. Many orangutans and other animals are killed in the process, for the production of palm oil used in many of our everyday foods and products. This large-scale deforestation is pushing orangutans to extinction, along with many other native species of Borneo and Sumatra.”

I’ve known about this for a few years and I had thought I was doing a good job of avoiding palm oil, but I decided to have a little look in my cupboards and was horrified to find quite a number of products that contained it. They ranged from bouillon powder to my favourite make of soda bread. Very upsetting!

Salt: Actually, you may be surprised to know that this doesn’t bother me too much. I have recently read several pieces of research that suggest salt isn’t as bad for us as we thought. You can read more about this new research here. It’s really fascinating.

The quality of the salt still matters though, and I doubt whether the salt used in these biscuits is particularly high quality.

Flavourings: Uh, what flavourings?! Why haven’t they listed what they are? They could contain anything.

Next time you go shopping, check the ingredients before putting food into your trolley. If you don’t know what half the stuff in your food is, it’s probably best not to buy it.