Have you ever turned over a packaged food item and read the ingredient list on the nutrition label? You might have come across some ingredients that you can’t even pronounce and look they belong in a science lab, right? Food manufacturers use catchy phrases on the front of their packages like “Whole Grains”, “Low Fat”, “Sugar Free”, and “All Natural” as eye grabbers, but what’s really in what you’re eating?
Here are a few tricks on How to Read Ingredient Lists on Nutrition Labels that you’re eating:
Ingredients on the food label are listed by weight from largest to smallest
- The first few ingredients listed are the most important, and amounts decrease in size as you read farther down the list.
The shorter the ingredient list the better!
- Look for foods with less than 5 ingredients on the list. The longer the list, the more unrecognizable ingredients, and the more likely the food contains artificial preservatives.
Some ingredients can hide under different names.
- Sugar, for example, has many different secret names it resides under.
- Some examples are dextrose, fructose, galactose, glucose, lactose, maltose, sucrose, sorbitol, beet sugar, corn sugar, corn sweetener, high fructose corn syrup, maple sugar, turbinado sugar, brown rice syrup, agave nectar, honey, and molasses, to name a few… (woah).
Stay away from added sugars!
- Sugar is one of the main reasons for unhealthy weight gain and health problems this day in age. Cutting out sugars (with allll the names above) is a great way to stay healthy and lose excess weight.
Beware of “front-of-the-box claims”.
- Although a package might read “High Fiber”, what is the food actually made of? When you see catchy phrases on labels like this, make sure you turn over the package and read your nutrition label and ingredient list. Yes, the item might be high in fiber, but what else that they may not put on the cover of the box? Like high in saturated fats, artificial sugars, and god only knows what else.
- Claims like “Organic”, “Healthy”, “All-Natural” catch probably the most people in their trap! That might be the biggest one. If a food is certified organic, great. BUT did you check out the label? Organic products can still contain added sugars, which is why it’s important to turn over your products and get to reading!
Long story short, get in the habit of turning over your packaged food product and look at what you’re actually eating. Ever since I started paying more attention to what I’m eating and the ingredient lists, I’ve cleaned up my diet a TON and I feel better than I ever have. I’ve been sticking to more/all whole ingredients, grass fed meats, organic produce, and if/when I do buy packaged items, I always make sure to check out the label. Remember, the shorter the ingredient list the better, ditch the added sugars, and shop smart!
Yours In Health,