Thursday, April 14, 2011

Making sense of 'Health Food' Snack Labels

We all know that eating whole foods instead of prepackaged processed foods is our best bet for optimal health. But in the hectic pace of our daily lives with no Calgon to take us away, the reality is that we sometimes need a little pre-packaged assistance.  

It’s not surprising that our number one request at LoveLife is for healthy snacks or foods on-the-go.
So, we are beginning to offer regular tips and education around varieties of food that are more minimally processed. And we are formulating our own "healthy snacks" rating system, summing it up so you don't have to.

What makes a healthy label and how do we make this determination?  At LoveLife, we are all about teaching our clients to be their own experts so let’s show a couple of labels side by side for comparison.

Sunshine Patties VS Boca Burgers

Organic, non-GMO and freshly ground with no additives – Sunshine Burgers lend a heavy dose of nutritional benefits without sacrificing taste. Laden with whole ground beans and seeds they are also high in protein and fiber. This is a label that would make a farmer proud. Their masterpieces are as close to farm-to-plate as you can get with packaged foods. 

Click on the picture of the label to expand.
  • Notice the ingredients listed do not have the word “flour” after each of them.
  • Each of these ingredients is whole and minimally processed
  • Each ingredient is preceded by the word “organic”
  • No preservatives
  • No possible inflammatory ingredients such as soy, gluten, corn
  • Whopping 8 g protein and 5 g fiber from whole food sources


  • First ingredient: Water. Why? Because everything is synthetic and must be reconstituted to make it edible.
  • Second Ingredient: Soy protein Concentrate. NOT a whole food AND an inflammatory food. And GMO. We will write an article another time on soy’s lack of virtues.
  • Additional Ingredients: Textured Soy Protein Concentrate, Hydrolyzed Soy and Corn Protein, Yeast Extract. Suffice it to say that this product is primarily a synthetic one, suited for space travel perhaps, it could feed the astronauts bellies but not their spirits.
  • Preservatives and additives - Caramel Color, Didsodium Guanylate, Disodium Inosinate
  • Inflammatory ingredients - Wheat, soy, corn


  1. This is important information. You are really focused well on this topic. I am really impressed with your article.

  2. you don't even mention that the processes involved in making the Soy Protein Concentrate uses a petroleum by-product as a solvent... That is why I ditched all the processed veggie "meat" products in favor of the whole foods versions like the Sunshine burgers

  3. So true Anonymous...sounds like a whole 'nother article! Thanks for bringing that into the conversation.

  4. Thank you for the information! I have also been researching Gardenburger®. Nowhere on their web site do they claim to be Organic. They skirt around the issue saying they treat their veggies and grains "with respect". "All Natural" does not = Organic. I wrote to their company asking if they are organic/pesticide and GMO-free, and am waiting for a response from them via email.

  5. I love Sunshine Burgers!! They're not just better for you, they taste awesome too!! I really wish it was required by law to list GMO ingredients on conventional food labels to make more people aware of the dangers of consuming synthetic garbage. The way the soy is separated (hexane, etc) is nasty too. Wish everyone was aware of this. Thanks for posting this :)