Part 2: Reading Nutrition Labels
Understanding the ingredients Label
You know the saying- never judge a book by its cover.... well, It definitely rings true when it comes to food packaging. One should never get caught up in clever front of box claims such as "heart healthy," "natural," or "low fat." These phrases are incredibly misleading. Where you will find the most critical information is on the nutrient facts panel and the ingredients list.
**Check Product ingredients.
Listed in order by weight. Always check the first 3 ingredients, if those include refined grains, sugar or hydrogenated oils assume its unhealthy. Lean towards items with whole foods listed as the top 3; and, the shorter the list the better. If that list is longer than 2-3 lines that product is likely highly processed.
**Beware of Buzzwords.
Sugar goes by countless names; beet sugar, brown sugar, buttered sugar, date sugar, golden sugar, invert sugar, muscovado sugar, organic raw sugar, raspadura sugar, evaporated cane juice, high fructose corn syrup, agave nectar, brown rice syrup, glucose, maltose, fructose.. the list goes on.
Salt can be disguised under brine, baking soda, disodium, monosodium glutamate or sodium benzoate.
Trans fats are mainly listed as partially hydrogenated oil and hydrogenated oil.
**Be afraid of unfamiliar words.
Not all of them are bad. Amaranth, quinoa, farro and spelt are all nutrient rich whole grains. Steviol glycosides are from the naturally sweet stevia plant. thiamine mononitrate is simply B1. Ascorbic acid is vitamin C. Soy lecithin and xanthan gum are texture modifiers and offer some health benefits.
**Be fooled by healthy sounding ingredients.
"wheat flour," is simply white or all purpose flour stripped of almost all nutrients. "brown rice syrup," is an alias for added sugar. And, "palm oil," is a plant based oil that delivers quite a hit of saturated fat.
**Buy into front of box claims.
Just because a package boasts appealing qualities doesn't mean its an all around healthy food. to truly get the full scoop, read the nutrient facts panel and the ingredient list.
What is Suggested;
Experts say to try to stick to foods with 5 or less ingredients.
I suggest this, if you cant pronounce it or aren't sure what it is look the item up right there in the aisle using your handy device.
Take your time. Your health is worth the investment.
I provide meal and fitness plans for clients worldwide. All plans include free lifestyle coaching tips and guidance to help you incorporate healthy practices into your daily routine so you can improve your quality of life for years to come.