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Friday, May 2, 2014

10 tips for Reading Food Labels

Ever go to the store and get confused by all the wording on packages?  It seems like everywhere you turn, food companies are using phrases such as “All Natural” and “Made with Whole Grains” to make us feel good about what we are feeding our families.  Here are a couple tips to remember on your next shopping trip!
"Real Fruit" can be used when the amount of fruit is minimal and can even come from fruit concentrate. So, your product can be all sugar, with a teeny bit of actual fruit or fruit juice and have "Real Fruit" advertised all over it! YIKES!

“All Natural” has no specific legal meaning beyond meat (in which case it means the meat doesn't contain chemicals or artificial coloring). The only way to ensure something is "all natural" is if it doesn't come in a box or bag! Don't be duped!

"Healthy" is a term you see all the time on processed food. Whose definition of healthy is this? If a product has 2 grams of fibers and 50 grams of sugar, it can be labeled as "healthy"!

"Free-Range" is a tricky and loose term used to mean that the animals have access to be outdoors. For how long or under what conditions, is not specified…SCARY!

"Made with Whole Grains" is misused horribly! A product with as little as 1% whole grains, is of course, "Made with Whole Grains".

 Added sugar and natural sugar are not separated on a food label. The total grams of sugar in a food includes the naturally occuring sugar (from fruit or dairy) and the added sugars.

When reading an ingredient list, the ingredients are list in order of amount by weight, from most to least. A food with enriched flour and sugar as the 1st or 2nd ingredient is an indication that it is mostly those two ingredients...may want to walk over to the produce department!

These are all "other" names for sugar to be aware of when reading food labels: brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, fruit juice concentrates, glucose, high fructose corn syrup, honey, invert sugar, malt syrup, molasses, raw sugar, sucrose, and syrup. The Healthy Edge covers this and SO MUCH more in weeks 4 and 5 of their lifestyle program! http://www.getthehealthyedge.com.

 If you want to know how much sugar you are consuming and "grams" are not familiar to you. Divide the total grams of sugar by 4 and this will give you the amount in tsp. So, if a product has 20 grams of sugar, that is equivalent to 5 tsp of sugar! EYE OPENING!

Buy unsweetened yogurt (we like Greek Style Yogurt). Yogurts can have 25 or more grams of sugar (that's over 8 tsp of sugar per serving) compared to about 5-7 grams in plain yogurt! Add fruit and nuts to yogurt to add flavor and crunch!

The Healthy Edge 8 Week Lifestyle Program dedicates two weekly courses to reading food labels to help you better understand what you are really getting in your grocery store purchase.

 Hope you find these tips helpful!!

1 comment:

  1. Amber and April, This is another eye opening post. Thanks for sharing your insights! ~ Dyann


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