Reading Food Labels
Reading food labels
When eating healthy and losing weight reading food labels is crucial. But the problem is that many food labels are misleading and can even be incorrect. But how do you know whats right and whats wrong?
Here are some of the most common mistakes made when reading labels:
- Snack Packages: Sometimes those small bags are not a single serving at all. We like to think they are, but many of these small bags of chips, trail mixes, and nuts are really 2-3 servings per bag! Its so important that you look at the “Servings Per Container” and then multiple that number to the listed macros. That will give you the count for the entire bag! So be careful!
- This brings me to my next point: Portion Weight. Lets again look at chips for example. The package may say a serving size is about 14 chips (1oz or 28gr). The key word here is about. The actual true serving size is found by weight of an item. So get out that scale and weigh it! You may be surprised that the true serving size is only 10 chips! Happens all the time with many types of food: in particular with oatmeal, cereals, nuts, dried fruits, chips, peanut butters, jams, etc. The list goes on and on. Basically, you should be making that food scale your best friend! Weigh everything!!
- “Healthy” gimmicky food labels! How many times have you seen a food label that claims the food is “All Natural”, “Fat Free”, “Gluten Free”, “Whole Grain”?? Im sure every time you are in the grocery store! But be aware, just because those words are on the label, does not qualify that food to be healthy. Many of these Fat Free and Gluten Free Foods are heavily packed with sugars and starchy carbs. The Whole Grain labels usually carry a ton of fat! So pay attention!
- False advertisements. You know the saying, its too good to be true?? Well sometimes that is true with food too! If you see an item like a muffin at a bakery and it claims to only have 1 gram of fat and only 110 calories, chances are something is off. Maybe thats for one bite 😉 If it feels wrong, err on the side of caution and choose something else.
- No calorie labels! This is one of the worst. Did you know that the FDA says if a product has less than 5 calories per serving, it can be labeled as calorie free?! Yes…you heard me correctly! So what if a serving size is 1/2 tsp. and you have about 5 tbsp thinking that it is calorie free. Well, if there are 4 calories in a tsp, that would be 120 calories in that serving!! Not cool, huh? So again, be very careful of that. Nothing other than pure water is calorie free!
So reader beware! Take your time and read labels throughly. and bring a calculator with you to the grocery store if you need to! All of these tricks are only going to help you in the long run!