Healthy Diet: How To Read Food Labels – See The Facts

read food labelsThe easiest way to read food labels is to look for words like salt, sugar, flour, vegetable oil and so on. If all you see is a bunch of chemicals and numbers, chances are there is too much artificial ingredients and food conditioners.

This is a general guide and it is a good habit to look at the ingredients that make up your favorite snacks.

Reading the label on anything these days can be baffling. You see terms that you do not know is science or marketing. It is true that many companies do their own research nowadays, but to make matters worse, there are no international agreed guidelines that regulate what words can be used to label your food packaging.

This means some of those scientific sounding names mean little to the consumers and are part of the creative copy writing.

So how about the manufacturer that labels their bottled water 100% sugar free? Okay, maybe I am exaggerating a little and I really do not know if this is true, I’ve never actually seen it. But as long as it is not an outright lie, you could probably put it on the label.

Healthy Diet: How To Recognize Substitute Words

Recognize substitute words for fat and sugars. For example, Words like sucrose, glucose, fructose, maltose, dextrose and hydrolyzed starch means sugar.

Fruit Juice

  • Fruit Juice – Must be made from the real thing.
  • Fruit Juice Drink – Only have to contain some real fruits.
  • Fruit Flavored Drinks – May be made entirely from artificial ingredients.

Fat
Watch out for saturated fats, as these will raise your cholesterol levels. Fats should provide no more than 35% of your calories and saturated fat no more than 11%.

Dietary Fibre
Soluble fibre helps lower cholesterol levels, while insoluble fibre prevents bowel disorders.

Sugar
If it is printed on the label as “carbohydrates (of which are sugars)”, know that anything over 10g per 100g is excess; 2g or less is acceptable. Sometimes it is listed as sugar, under carbohydrates. Words like sucrose, glucose, fructose, maltose, dextrose and hydrolysed starch means sugar.

Sodium/Salt
If it is listed as sodium, roughly work out the amount of salt by multiplying the sodium by 2.5. That means it is roughly 2.5g of salt for every 1g of sodium. Keep salt intake levels to 6g per day to be healthy, less if you have high blood pressure and hypertension.

Canned Vegetables
Salt is often used as a preservative in canned food. A can of green peas can contain over 400mg per half cup. Fresh or frozen vegetables are a better choice.

Fast And Easy Clues
Did you know there can be up to six teaspoons of sugar in some pasta sauce? That is more sugar than can be found in a chocolate pudding. Maybe six teaspoons does not a lot, but that is not all the sugar you eat. If you add up all the sugar rich food, snacks and drinks, you might end up eating a cup full of sugar every day.

Check serving size
If you look at labels and nutritional list on the packaging, recognize the serving size. Especially if you don’t have time to cook and eat the contents of the entire can by yourself.

Healthy Diet: Check The Nutritional Facts

Ingredients
A long list printed on the label does not necessary it is unhealthy, but may mean that the food is processed more or has more additives, preservatives or colorants.

Check serving size
If you look at labels and nutritional list on the packaging, recognize the serving size. Especially if you don’t have time to cook and eat the contents of the entire can by yourself. You need to know how much of your recommended daily allowance is being fulfilled by what you eat.