To Read Labels Or Not To Read? part 1

How many of us take the time and the trouble to read ingredient label on the packaged food we buy in the supermarkets?  My guess is that not too many of us.  I do, mostly because that was part of my training as a nutritionist, and is part of my psyche.While many of us read the part which tells us how many calories per serving is contained in the package, very few go on to read the ingredients.  Next time you are in a store, take a look at the ingredients contained in chocolate chip cookies.  Think of what we put into such cookies when we make them at home.  There are basically five ingredients-flour, sugar, butter, eggs, and chocolate chips.But in manufactured chocolate chip cookies, there are literally dozens of ingredients that follow the five basic ones I've listed.  Some are familiar, and some we've never heard of.  Those anonymous ingredients-called "food additives" are put into the cookies for a variety of reasons.One of the reasons is to enrich the flavor of the product.  Another is to improve the nutritional value, for example, vitamin D, C, Calcium, folic acid, and on and on.Another reason is to add preservatives, which allows a longer shelf life for the product.  Also, additives are put into the product to maintain consistency and texture, to stabilize the product.Controlling acidity allows the producer to maintain desired taste of the product, such as in cake products and cookies.One will also see various food dyes in the ingredient list to provide-what else-color that might otherwise be absent.I will leave you with this to think about until the next blog.Eggplant Saladserves 41        large eggplant, cut into one-inch thick slices1       tomato, diced2      scallions, diced1/2 cup chopped cilantro1/2  cup pomegranate seeds, optional you can use dried cranberries1/4  teaspoon chili pepper4      tablespoons olive oil2      tablespoons lemon juicesalt to taste-Place the eggplant slices on a cookie sheet, spray with olive oil spray and broil until golden brown.  Turn to the other side, spray with olive oil and broil until golden.  Remove from the oven and chop.-In a salad bowl, mix the eggplant cubes gently with the rest of the ingredients.  Serve with pita chips or gluten free pita chips.  Enjoy.