Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

October 27, 2013

Are ingredients in our food, makeup safe?

Melinda Hester
The Independent

ASHLAND — Want more ways to save? By buying store brands, you can save more than $2,000 a year. Often, store brands are made by the same manufacturer, and the quality is equal or better.

Lipstick check

A new study at the University of California School of Public Health in Berkeley found eight different lipsticks and 24 lip glosses that contained aluminum, cadmium, chromium, lead, titanium and other metals. Are the amounts safe? Manufacturers are closed mouthed.

Heavy jobs

According to a survey by Career Builder, 69 percent of administrative assistants, followed by 56 percent of engineers, will gain weight this year. Others who have trouble controlling their weight are teachers, nurses and physicians assistants at 51 percent each. Bringing up the rear are legal professionals and machine operators at 45 percent.

The survey cited eating quickly on the go and not eating the right foods. Exercise is hard to do when working long shifts. Grabbing something for quick energy, such as a sweet brought in by a coworker, spells diet failure.

What’s in our food?

If a product says it’s low sodium, is it really? Does it contain high-fructose corn syrup? A low-fat food may not be any more fattening than the original product. The label may say it’s fat free, but it still has sugar and carbs. These have calories, and lots of them.

Kraft Ranch Fat Free Dressing has minus 3 grams of fat. Corn syrup is a sugar, and is the second ingredient listed. Jif Peanut Butter Reduced Fat has more sugar at 4 grams than Jif Regular Peanut Butter at 3 grams.

Look at the number of calories, sugar and fat instead of “fat free” or “low fat.”

Kix Cereal is genetically engineered. It’s labeled “natural.” Look for “No GMOs.”  Some companies are voluntarily labeling their products with a “Non-GMO Product Verified” seal. It might take longer to read labels in the store, but we need to know what’s in our food. By cooking at home, you know exactly what’s in there.

Trans fats

The label says 0 grams trans fats. How do you feel when you find out the product does indeed contain trans fat? Labels are designed to be tricky. They contain just enough per serving size that they do not have to claim the product contains trans fats. If you eat more than one serving, then small amounts of trans fats add up to large amounts. Coffee Mate is a good example. The label says “No Trans Fats.” But Coffee Mate contains partially hydrogenated oil. If you only use a teaspoon, you are OK. But if you use two teaspoons, you have consumed more.

Cheetos are full of fat. But the label says there are no trans fats. Try to eat just one serving, but that’s hard to do. Are manufacturers allowed to put in a product to boost your appetite? Yes, they are. It’s easier not to buy these things, but they do seem to call to us. A wiser choice is a vegetable tray. Wash and clean vegetables with white vinegar. If they are already prepared, you’re more likely to reach for them.

Clothing deals

Designer clothes are as much as 60 percent off at outnet.com. Other good deals: Last Call Outlet shopping for Neiman Marcus (high-end clothing); Coldwater Creek Outlet online clothing is 60 percent to 70 percent off; Barneys Warehouse.com has upscale clothing on clearance at 80 percent off.

Watch for coupon codes. Write them down and make sure to use them. Shop on Mondays. Fashion pros say that’s the day to find better deals.


Halloween costumes are 50 percent off. These make great Christmas gifts because children love to dress up all year. Stock up while costumes are on clearance. They will be cheaper each week.

Reese’s, Snickers and Kit Kat: $1.88; stock up for Halloween.

Gillette Venus or Pro Glide: 1 count razor $6.99; $5 ExtraBucks; $3 manufacturer’s coupon.

Eucerin: two for $10; $10 EB if you buy $20; $2 manufacturer’s coupon; buy four; use four $2 coupons.

Tide: $5.94; $1 EB; $2 manufacaturer’s coupon.

Bayer Contour Next EZ Meter: $9.99; $9.99 EB; free.