Learn how to check your food labels!
I could go on for days on this topic. Instead, I’m just going to breeze over it. The theme of this article should be, learn how to check your food labels by expanding your knowledge.
Now that you’ve become more health conscious, you’ve started to look at labels and aren’t sure what to look for? Here’s some advice.
Start at the top of the label. Make sure you are familiar with the serving size. Sometimes it may seem like it’s a lower calorie food, but that’s only because it’s broken down into really small servings.
Generally, you should stay away from foods that have a high percentage of the Total Fat coming mostly from Saturated Fat. Example.
10g of Total Fat
9g of Saturated Fat.
You want more fat in the poly and mono area, and less in Saturated (And ZERO in Trans Fat). If it has trans fat, put it back.
Next is Carbohydrates. You want the item to have the least amount of Sugars, and most amount of fiber possible.
Protein is just a basic category, but is an important nutrient for muscle repair. Just make sure you eat enough each day.
BEWARE of labels on the front of products. Products that generally say “Low Fat” or “Low Carb” generally replace something in their ingredient profile to make it worse in the opposite category. In other words, don’t take the label on face value.
Now, let’s move on to the ingredients. The less ingredients on the list, the better. The more ingredients, the more processed it is. We are looking for unprocessed foods to eat. Remember, they are listed in order of the most abundant ingredient first. So if it says “Sugar,” put it back. If there are words you can’t pronounce, put it back.
BEWARE of the whole wheat look-a-likes. If it says Multi-grain on the front package, it could have a small portion of whole wheat, followed by a ton of white flour so be careful. Look on the package and make sure it says 100% whole wheat. If it shows “Enriched, Bleached, Unbleached,” once again, put it back.
It gets deeper, but I think I will stop for now. It can be quite overwhelming when you get into organic, GMO, Soy etc.
So what’s your next step? Learn more! Whether it’s through internet searching or speaking with a dietician/nutritionist/doctor. Just one bit of advice, don’t always believe what you read online… look for a reliable source.
Thanks for taking the time to learn about reading nutrition labels, it’s more important than you think.