The majority of people’s diets nowadays would include processed and packaged foods and drinks. To know the nutritional value of the contents of these packages, we read their food labels. Unfortunately, after reading these labels, one ends up confused, deceived or with the least amount of information about what is going to enter their body. Don’t let these labels trick you and learn the secrets of reading them as explained below.
1. Recognize Different Names of Sugar
Labels may not mention sugar honestly as sugar; instead they have various names that mean sugar written on them. Sugar may be found in the form of syrup like rice syrup, high fructose corn syrup, carob syrup, golden syrup, honey, malt syrup, maple syrup, oat syrup, rice bran syrup and agave nectar.
Some packages might have added sugars like molasses, cane juice crystals, crystalline fructose, lactose, corn sweetener, malt powder, fructose, fruit juice concentrate, maltose, disaccharides, and glucose.
2. Check the Ingredients List
The longer the ingredients list, the more you should worry because it means that the food is too processed. The ingredients are written in order from the most available ingredient to the least; therefore, products whose first three ingredients are whole foods are certainly better than those which have refined sugars or hydrogenated oils coming first.
3. Take Care of the Serving Size
The amount of nutrients and calories mention on a food label refers to a single serving. A package usually does not contain a single serving, so compare the weight of your package to the size of the mentioned single serving to have a closer idea about the nutritional value of the item you are buying.
4. Don’t Be Fooled by Health Claims
Labels that say “no added sugar” does not mean that the product is sugar-free as the contents may be high in sugar from the first place. A “multigrain” product is not equivalent to “healthy” as the grains meant might just be refined grains; instead look for “whole grains” in ingredients to get healthy fibers.