Learning To Read Food Labels: What You Should Really Look For

food label reading

Everyone tells you to look at the nutrition labels while shopping for groceries. But, what should you be looking for? Many make the mistake of looking at one or two items before tossing a product in their cart. However, there is much more to a nutrition label than you might think. Before you journey out for your next grocery shopping trip, here are a few tips on what you should really be looking for on nutrition labels.

Calories and Fat

Calories and fat are actually something that many shoppers look at. The average person should eat 2000 calories per day to maintain their weight and many nutrition labels will tell you how much percentage of your daily calories a serving of the product contains. It will also tell you how much fat is in the product. When it comes to fat, there are other things to consider than the overall amount of fat. First you should notice whether or not the fat is good or bad. Good fats are mono- and polyunsaturated. Bad fats include saturated and trans-fats.

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Nutrition

Sadly, many people stop at the calories and fat. However, there is much more to learn from a nutrition label. First of all, you need to make sure the product is actually nutritious. There are a number of low-calorie and fat-free foods that aren’t the least bit nutritious. A healthy food should contain a low amount of sodium, cholesterol, and sugar and a good amount of fiber, protein, and vitamins and minerals.

Ingredients

Last, but not least, you need to look at the ingredients. This is something that many people watching their weight never look at. Unfortunately, not looking at the ingredients label can lead to ingesting chemicals that are bad for your health. You want to opt for foods that are free of preservatives, man-made chemicals, dyes, artificial sweeteners, etc. In other words, you should be able to read the ingredients label and see the names of actual food. If the label read’s more like a chemist’s list, skip it and move on to something healthier.

Yes, calories and fat are important, but in order to eat healthy foods, you need to take the entire nutrition label into account. The truth is many low-calorie and low-fat foods are made with taste in mind, not nutrition. This means you need to follow the tips listed above so that you only bring home foods that are healthy for you and your family.

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