How To Read Food Labels For Gut Health

Food packaging is designed to get you to buy it. Just because a brand is labeled as ‘healthy’ or ‘clean’, doesn’t mean that it’s actually filled with good ingredients. Although it may seem overwhelming, we’re here to help. Here is a breakdown of things to look for on a nutrition label so you aren’t buying products that are hurting your healing journey. 

Step 1: Don’t Judge a Food by its Packaging

Yes, we all love cute packaging, but just because it looks good, doesn’t mean it doesn't contain harmful ingredients. Words like natural, clean, light, sugar free, fat free, made with 100% whole grains, etc essentially mean nothing. It’s a marketing tactic to get you to pick it up off the shelf and studies show this works. Don’t be fooled. Ignore the packaging and turn right to the nutrition label. 

Step 2: Look At The Nutrition Label

Before even looking at the ingredient list, you can take note of three key things that can help you determine if you should put the item back.

  • Serving Size: Although all nutrition labels are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, that may mean nothing to you. All of our bodies are different and require a different amount of calories to function properly. What this DOES tell you is how much of this product is recommended to eat in one sitting. All nutrition notes below are for this serving size. 
  • Trans Fat: If the item contains trans fat, put it back. This can cause issues with cholesterol and increase your risk of heart disease. NOTE: Products can say they contain zero trans fat if they contain a half gram or less.
  • Sugar: A lot of self-stable items have loads of unnecessary added sugar (looking at you peanut butter!). Be sure to note the amount of sugar per serving size. Many times the serving size is small to make it seem like a product has less sugar than it actually does. Labels will now distinguish between natural and added sugar which is great because sometimes whole foods contain sugar and that’s okay!

Step 3: The Ingredient List

A good rule of thumb is the shorter the ingredient list, the better. It’s important to note that the first few ingredients listed on the package make up most of the product. So if your child’s ‘apple cinnamon’ bar doesn’t list apple or cinnamon first on the ingredient list, then put it back.

If you can’t pronounce the ingredient or you wouldn’t use it when making the product at home, it’s good to just avoid it all together if you can.

Be sure to also take note of the oils used in the product. Some ‘natural’ chips only have a few ingredients but use sunflower, canola, corn, or soy oils. Although these are generally not harmful in moderation, these can exacerbate gut issues. It’s better to look for oil such as extra-virgin, coconut, avocado, ghee or grass-fed butter.

Ingredients To Avoid/Limit

  • Hydrogenated oils 
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • White refined flours in grain products 
  • Artificial dyes 
  • Nitrates and nitrites
  • Be sure to check the allergy warning if you have any common food allergies or sensitivities

If you don’t suffer from gut issues and eat mostly whole foods, sometimes indulging in foods with a less-than-desirable ingredient list won’t have a huge impact on your overall health. However, if you suffer from any gut problems, adding any artificial ingredients could be detrimental so it’s important to understand how to read an ingredient list and make the best decision for your health!

If you do indulge from time-to-time, taking a Digestive Enzymes before eating can help limit negative reactions.  

Digestive Enzymes
Digestive Enzymes
Digestive Enzymes
Digestive Enzymes
Digestive Enzymes
Digestive Enzymes
Digestive Enzymes
Digestive Enzymes

Digestive Enzymes


Replace digestive functions that may have been depleted or compromised over time with Gut Garden’s Digestive Enzyme Blend. Our high-potency blend of enzymes, herbs, Betaine HCL and Pepsin is designed to break down fats, carbohydrates and proteins to support proper digestion and improve nutrient absorption.

Betaine HCL - Increases the level of hydrochloric acid in the stomach necessary for proper digestion and absorption of nutrients. It’s also required for the extraction of vitamin B12 from food.

Pepsin - Found naturally in the stomach, pepsin is one of the first enzymes to initiate protein digestion and works in synergy with Betaine HCL to provide complete protein digestive support.

Bromelain and Papain - From pineapple and papaya, help break amino acids down into smaller strings of protein.

Ox Bile Extract - Contains many of the digestive enzymes and nutrients that we need to help us properly digest our food and helps ease nausea, upset stomach and diarrhea.

Peppermint Leaf and Fennel Seed - Herbs to soothe down the stomach and fight indigestion or inflammation in the intestines.

Serving size: 2 capsules
Servings per container: 45

 Ingredient Name Amount Per Serving
Pancreatin 10X
Pancreatic Protease, Pancreatic Amylase, Pancreatic Lipase
Betaine HCL 250mg
Bromelain Complex(2400 GDU/g) 208mg
Ox Bile Powder 100mg
Fennel Seed Powder 50mg
Peppermint Leaf Powder 50mg
Papain Complex (6000 USP Units/mg) 42mg
Cellulase Complex (40000 cu/g) 37.5mg
Pepsin Complex (3000 FCC units/mg) 30mg

Other Ingredients: Microcrystalline Cellulose, Hypromellose (Capsule).

Take 1 capsule with meals or as directed by a healthcare practitioner.

Consult a Healthcare practitioner if pregnant or nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition. Keep out of reach of children. Store in a cool, dry place after opening.

Q. Does the pepsin come from bovine or porcine?

A. Porcine

Q. What is the size of the capsules?

A. The capsule size is 00

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