Lesson Learned: ALWAYS Check Food and Supplement Labels

Posted by Wendy Neal Wednesday, September 1, 2010 Bookmark and Share

I learned this lesson the hard way. When you have food allergies, you always need to check the ingredients on the label every time you buy something, even if you've bought it before and it previously didn't have any allergens in it.

I thought I had been doing everything right - for the past 8 months, ever since I found out I'm allergic to dairy, egg whites, and also gluten-intolerant, I had completely eliminated these culprits from my diet. Or so I thought.

The other day when I went to buy some multivitamins at the health food store because I was nearly out, I could not find the ones I normally buy. In their place were something similar, but they were labeled "Ultimate Vegetarian Multi" (instead of "Ultimate One"). I looked at the label and the vitamin and mineral content looked exactly like what I had bought before and was currently using at home; I couldn't immediately see any differences.

After looking around some more, I did notice the kind I usually buy but they were located all the way to the right of the section of this particular brand of vitamins and there was only one row of them, almost like they were discontinuing them. "Oh, there they are", I thought. I looked at the label just to compare them to the vegetarian ones that had taken their place.

Lo and behold, in the list of "Other Ingredients" was listed "protein hydrolysate (milk)". What??? When I first started buying this multivitamin, there was no milk included. I wondered if the bottle I had at home contained this, because lately I'd begun having minor stomach problems shortly after taking my multi.

Sure enough, when I got home I checked the bottle in my cupboard, and they contained milk. I was somewhat relieved because this (hopefully) explained the stomach issues I'd been having lately, but I was also mad at the company for changing the ingredients used in their vitamins. Ultimately I was mad at myself for not having noticed this myself. The worst part is, the bottle contained 90 vitamins, so I had been taking them for 3 months before I noticed it.

Looking on the bright side as I do, the good news is that since I started taking the new vitamins, I have not had any stomach problems. And also a valuable lesson was learned, albeit the hard way.  Going forward I will always check all labels of the foods and supplements I buy.

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