Guide To Food Labels
Food labels can be confusing. Understand them with this guide and start your journey to healthy eating.
"Fat Free". "Cholesterol Free". "No Trans Fat".
You have seen the claims on the front of the food products. But this is the information the marketing department puts on the front of the package. To start eating healthier, you need to read the food nutritional label.
When you do your grocery shopping, you should overlook the health claims on the front of the packages as they can be deceptive. The important information is contained in the Nutrition Facts panel. This will give you things such as how many calories per serving, nutrient information and ingredients.
The critical piece of information: What's in it? Reading the nutrition food label can help in your quest to eating healthy.
Education can go a long way. Read the ingredients lists on food labels to help make educated decisions about what goes on your families dinner table.
Today's grocery shelves are lines with many food products that are full of additives, preservatives, food dyes and MSG that can contribute to poor nutrition. For example, refined sugar provides no nutritional benefit and empty calories yet it is packed into many so called "healthy" foods, like cereals and flavored yogurts.
Action tip: Start reading the food's nutrition label. Avoid products in which added sugar (also called high-fructose corn syrup, dextrose, glucose, cane sugar, and corn syrup) is one of the first ingredients. Watch out for artificial sweeteners, which are not necessarily safe in excessive amounts.
Salt is another culprit in today's poor health diet. Too much added salt can lead to high blood pressure and other health problems. When buying canned goods especially, be sure to check out the sodium content per serving.
The last ingredient to watch out for is "hydrogenated" or "partially hydrogenated" oil. The means the food contains trans fat...the worst type of fat for your heart. Ignore the food package or nutrition facts panel in this case. The FDA has allowed food manufacturers to claim "No Trans Fat" if it only contains a trace amount.
So when grocery shopping, start reading the labels. Your best bet is to buy the food products with the fewest ingredients — and ideally, only those that you can pronounce!
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