The list of free from foods grows daily, free from gluten, lactose, GMOs, sugar. To help you understand what those labels actually mean and what the health benefits are, we’ve put together a guide on the most popular free from labels, and some labels you’ll recognise from our Slender You range.
Gluten is a protein found in some grains like wheat, rye, and barley. It helps give structure to things like breads and pasta. Gluten can be found in a lot of pre-packaged foods like sauces and dressings. Gluten Free means that there is no gluten in the product.
Benefits of Gluten-Free
Going gluten-free has benefits to people with Coeliac Disease or a who have Gluten Sensitivity.
Coeliac Disease is an autoimmune disorder. If you have coeliac disease, gluten will cause your body to attack the small intestine which can lead to bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhoea and fatigue. If you are Coeliac, going gluten free isn’t a choice but a necessity and not only must you make sure your food is gluten free, but that there is no cross-contamination as it can lead to symptoms.
Gluten Sensitivity means that although you don’t test for Coeliac disease you experience the symptoms, like bloating, pain, diarrhoea and fatigue when you eat gluten. More people are gluten sensitive than coeliac; and for them, the symptoms will go away when they choose a gluten free diet. If you experience any of these symptoms, going gluten free can help manage them better.
Lactose free often gets mixed up with Dairy Free, although they are not the same thing. If something is Dairy free it means it has absolutely no dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt etc) in it.
Lactose is a type of sugar found in milk. When that is removed the product becomes lactose free but still contains dairy, making it suitable for people who are Lactose intolerant, not dairy free.
Benefits of Lactose Free
Some people have difficulty digesting Lactose and don’t feel good after eating products with dairy like ice cream, chocolate, milk and cheese. If they still want to eat dairy products, by choosing Lactose Free products, they won’t feel uncomfortable after eating Dairy. If you find that you don’t feel great after eating milk products that contain lactose, opting for lactose free products can remove those symptoms.
A vegan diet and products that are vegan mean they contain no animal products or by products. Along with not eating any type of meat or fish, vegans will not eat eggs, dairy or honey. If it comes from or is made by an animal, it is not vegan. Vegetarians do not eat meat, fish or poultry but will eat dairy, eggs and honey.
Benefits of Vegan
There are many benefits of going vegan. Eliminating meat and dairy can make more room to eat more vegetables and fruit which are packed with vitamins and minerals. As a vegan you do need to make sure you’re getting enough protein from sources like beans, lentils, Tofu or natural supplements like our Slender You shakes. Going vegan also helps some people lose weight, have more energy, better skin and better digestion.
Veganism also has an environmental benefit as less water and energy is required to produce plants than required in the manufacturing of meats, fish and animal products; which means your carbon footprint is reduced.
A plant based diet is often confused with a vegan diet; and while they are similar they are not the same. A plant-based is a diet which revolves around eating foods that come from plants like fruit, vegetables, wholegrains, nuts and seeds – in their natural state. Some people on a plant based diet will eat a small amount of animal products, while others will choose to be plant based vegans.
A plant-based diet eliminates processed foods like cookies, chips etc.
Benefits of Plant-Based
The benefit of plant-based diets is that refined processed foods which contain lots of added sugars, preservatives and additives are removed and replaced with minimally processed foods. This means you are eating more nutritional foods.
As you’re eliminating processed foods which are often filled with sugars and unhealthy fats, it can lead to weight loss, more energy, better skin and better digestion.
GMO’s are Genetically Modified Organisms which are created in a lab. When foods contain GMOs, it means that scientists have removed one or more genes from the DNA of another organism and “recombined” them into the DNA of the plant they want to alter.
GMO Free means that the food or product you are buying contains no genetically modified organisms.
Benefits of GMO Free
There are many health and environmental risks associated with GMO products. The biggest problem with GMO’s is that when scientists insert the genes in the DNA, they don’t know where it can go. It can end up disrupting other genes and creating new proteins not found in food that can lead to allergens and toxins in foods.
By choosing GMO free, you are assured that the product you are buying is made from ingredients that have not been genetically modified and don’t carry those risks. GMO free foods are also natural and can help you keep your allergies at bay, improve your immunity and overall health. Best of all you can trust what’s in the product.
No added Sugar vs Sugar Free
When something is labelled as no added sugar it doesn’t mean there is not sugar in it. Rather it means that no sugar or sugar-containing ingredient is used during processing. These ingredients include honey, molasses, high-fructose corn syrup, malt syrup and cane syrup. There may still be sugar in the product from ingredients that contain sugar like dates, milk etc.
When a product is labelled as sugar free it means that there is less than 0.5 grams of sugar per serving.
You also need to read labels and ingredients as products that contain artificial sweeteners can be labelled as sugar free or no sugar added.
Benefits of no sugar added and sugar free
Sugar has been shown to be bad for us, and too much sugar in the diet can cause many health problems like weight gain or tooth decay and for some can cause skin and digestion issues. By choosing a product that is either sugar free or has no added sugar, you eliminate unnecessary added sugars from your diet making it and you healthier.