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Reading food labels while shopping at the grocery store.

How to decode food labels

Organic, pasture-raised, genetically modified or gluten-free? Specialty food labels are everywhere these days, and decoding them can feel overwhelming.

Want to become a more educated eater? Here’s a primer on some of those labels to help you decide what really matters and what’s all marketing.

Grass-fed v. grain-fed cows

Grass-fed animals graze and roam outside, while their grain-fed counterparts may be confined to a feed lot and treated with antibiotics. Learn how to choose the right milk and beef for your family.

Genetically modified foods

Genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, are common in many processed foods. While they aren’t known to be explicitly unhealthy, it’s also unclear if they have long-term effects on humans.

Organic produce

Though organic foods can be more expensive than conventionally produced items, you’ll also avoid pesticide residue and GMOs by choosing them. Check out our guide to when you should prioritize organic.

Pastured pork

Like grass-fed cows, pastured pigs are raised in a better environment where they can roam unconfined.


A gluten-free diet isn’t for everyone, but you may want to try it if you’ve experienced bloating, gas and other symptoms.

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