Skip to main content

Learn how Lilli Health is shaping the future of PCOS wellness. Learn More



Don’t Judge a Food by It’s Cover

When you wander through a grocery store, it’s hard to miss the abundance of food products labeled as “keto.” From cauliflower pizza crust to cauliflower noodles and bread, the market is flooded with these alternatives. However, it’s easy to be deceived by clever marketing if you don’t take the time to flip the package and examine the label carefully.

This was my exact reaction when I saw “cauliflower gnocchi” one day while grocery shopping. While I am always excited to see healthier versions of traditionally comfort food items, I typically am very skeptical. This time was no exception.

Cauliflower gnocchi is a variation of traditional gnocchi, a type of Italian dumpling usually made with potato, flour, and eggs, thus high in starch. In the case of cauliflower gnocchi, the potato is replaced or supplemented with cauliflower. This substitution aims to reduce the carbohydrate content, making it more suitable for those following a low-carb or keto diet.

The main appeal of cauliflower is its lower calorie and carbohydrate content compared to traditional starch-based products (pasta, bread, crackers, etc.). Cauliflower is naturally low in calories and carbohydrates while providing dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. By using cauliflower as a base, the overall caloric and carbohydrate load of the dish can be reduced, potentially making it a more diet-friendly option. However, when purchasing any cauliflower food product, it’s crucial to read the label and ingredients list. Marketing can be deceiving, and it’s important to know what you’re getting.

Decoding the Ingredient List

The most crucial element to focus on when examining a food label is the ingredient list. When it comes to reducing insulin levels, everything else on the nutrition label becomes less significant. Here are three reasons why:

  • Fat: The type of fat is more important than the total fat content. The majority of products loaded with processed or trans-fats are typically made with starch and/or sugar. By simply avoiding anything that includes starch in the ingredient list, you will naturally steer clear of these unhealthy fats.
  • Carbohydrates: The total number of carbohydrates is overshadowed by the type of carbohydrates, specifically those derived from starch and added sugar. Once again, by avoiding products that list starch or added sugar in their ingredients, you will eliminate items that cause spikes in insulin levels.
  • Fiber: Fiber content becomes irrelevant because the majority of your food intake should consist of whole and unprocessed produce, including frozen and canned options, which naturally have high fiber content.
  • Protein: Protein becomes less of a primary concern since a varied diet comprising lean proteins, nuts and seeds, and vegetables will provide an adequate protein intake.

In summary, when evaluating food labels, pay close attention to the ingredient list, as it holds the key to managing insulin levels effectively. By avoiding starch and added sugar, focusing on healthy fats, and prioritizing whole, unprocessed foods, you can make informed choices that support your dietary goals.  Hopefully, this understanding will assist you in cutting through the noise and deciphering a nutrition label effectively. Ultimately, the ingredient list is the crucial component that truly matters.

Learning to read the ingredient list is the crucial first step towards empowering yourself and making positive lifestyle changes.

How do you decode an ingredient list? It’s quite simple! The ingredient list on a food label, as defined by the FDA, showcases all the ingredients present in a product, listed in descending order of predominance. In other words, it gives you a clear picture of what’s inside, from the most abundant to the least.

Let’s take a hypothetical example using cauliflower gnocchi, respecting the brand anonymity. At first glance, the packaging appears healthy, adorned with plenty of green, which usually signals healthiness to most shoppers. It’s plant-based, organic, and vegan, which may sound like an excellent choice to the uninformed consumer. But now, let’s zoom in and read that ingredient list.


Organic re-dehydrated potatoes, organic wheat flour, organic potato starch, dehydrated cauliflower, organic salt, lactic acid

Surprisingly, the first three ingredients are all starch—starch, more starch, and even more processed starch. Dehydrated cauliflower seems to play a minor role, perhaps more for flavor or as a marketing tactic than anything else. Maybe it should be called “Cauliflower-Flavored Gnocchi,” but that might not sell as well. This serves as a powerful example of why relying solely on the Nutrition Facts label often falls short. The ingredient list reveals everything you need to know about a product. Once you master this skill, no marketing technique can ever fool you again.

Regrettably, this trend is prevalent in grocery stores nationwide. Only a few products, like Outer Aisle’s cauliflower thins and cauliflower “rice,” truly use cauliflower without adding starch. Many other items, such as cauliflower pizza crusts, cauliflower bread, cauliflower noodles, and crackers, often deceive customers with fancy packaging and misleading marketing. These products may have appealing exteriors, but their contents are not always ideal.

By understanding how to navigate ingredient lists, you can confidently make informed choices and avoid falling for misleading marketing tactics. Stay empowered and let the ingredient list be your trustworthy guide as you shop for healthier options.