Food labels can be quite confusing . This makes it hard to tell if a food is truly healthy.
Always keep in mind, food packages are an advertisement. It may say no sugar on the front of the box, but that does not mean there are no “hidden” sugars like sugar alcohol. This makes it important to look at food labels before purchasing the product.
Follow these tips on how to better understand food labels and find healthy foods when grocery shopping:
1. Look at serving sizes
Serving sizes can be misleading. It’s important to carefully read the serving size because, more often than not, the nutrient label lists a serving size that is less than the amount of food in the package. For example, the serving size listed for a bag of chips may be for only 12 chips. Do not let these labels fool you.
2. Read calories and nutrition facts
The calorie count will help you track your daily amount each day. Also, nutrition facts are just as important to read carefully. Sugar is a big one to always read on labels. As one of the most unhealthy ingredients, It’s essential for good health to limit sugar intake. Always look at how many grams of sugar is in a serving size. It can be difficult to envision sugar in grams. Did you know 20 grams of sugar is about 5 tablespoons? You may be consuming more sugar in a day than you thought.
3. Watch out for hidden sugars
If there is no sugar listed on the food label, there may be hidden sugars. Take a look at the ingredients where hidden sugars are listed. High fructose corn syrup, dextrose, glucose, maltose and hundreds more are all sugars to avoid.
4. Stick to short ingredients lists
We all have read the lists of long confusing words that are hard to understand. If you have no idea what the ingredient is, it most likely is not healthy. The shorter the ingredient list, the less additives and preservatives in the food. When going shopping, always take a look at the ingredients and try to get the most natural option.
To eat healthy, make it a habit to look at food labels before adding them to your cart. Follow a process where you scan the serving size, nutrition facts and ingredients. It is definitely worth the few extra seconds when selecting a food product to have more healthy foods in your kitchen.