Food Rule #8: Can’t Pronounce It? It’s Not The End Of The World.

This is a well cited rule. If when you read the ingredients list of a food product and you can’t pronounce it, put it back on the shelf and don’t eat it. There are many, many faults with this rule as what someone can read and pronounce from the ingredients lists is really going to vary from person to person.

We live in a global economy now, which allows for a much wider variety of foods from around the world to be available in our local super markets, markets and specialist food shops. Many foods may be mispronounced in a dialect here said food has become popular – but does that mean all those mispronouncing people should not eat that food? No.

I get that this isn’t the “point” of this rule, but I am just highlighting how ridiculous this rule is as a generic guideline. The pronunciation of some foods can take on a whole life of their own that there are debates about what the correct pronunciation is. Quinoa for example is now widely accepted as ‘keen-wa’ however, I and swarms of people are guilty of calling it ‘kwin-o-a’ for a good allotment of time.

So according to this pronunciation rule, I shouldn’t have been eating quinoa in my diet because silly old me couldn’t pronounce it.

This rule is generally aimed at additives and chemicals such as monosodium glutamate, which is frequently shortened to MSG. I don’t know about you but for me pronouncing that correctly first time was much easier than pronouncing quinoa, or figuring out the pronunciation of quinoa. Often there are a lot of preservatives and chemicals used within our food that we might not want to be putting into our body. However, without the knowledge of which chemical-sounding ingredients we want or don’t want in our body can be difficult. For example, ascorbic acid is frequently added to food for its preservative properties. Does this sound like a nasty chemical? I suppose it does to some degree. You might think, ‘I don’t want acid in my food” – ascorbic acid however is Vitamin C. Vitamin C is often added to food for its preservative properties.

Therefore, if you’re unsure on an ingredient and you feel so passionately about knowing what is in your food some reading might be more productive. If you don’t have the time or energy for this though, then generally speaking, if there are more ingredients in your food item that you know of that is likely to be a good sign – but don’t limit yourself. Usually we can gather from the packaging and the food product whether or not it is heavily processed or not. This, I think, is a better indicator as to whether the food contains ingredients you’re not so sure on. E numbers, sweets, unnaturally coloured foods kind of speak for themselves when compared against naturally forming foods.

On the flip side, we all know about sugar. We can all pronounce and talk about that white granulated substance that we add to our hot drinks, pastries, deserts, and that food manufacturers pump into our products – does that mean it is good for us?

As for quinoa at least we finally know the answer to that old debate. It is ‘keen-wa’ and whether you’ve been pronouncing it wrong or not, it is still a healthy food worth your while.


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