Reading Food Labels Accurately

Not all foods are created equal. More often than not, foods may seem healthy but can contain high amounts of fat and sugar. Knowing how to properly read a food label will help to make your weight loss successful and you healthier.

When reading a food label, first look at the serving size. Depending on the food product, the serving size may be too large for you. The key is to know what you can eat and if this is a good food choice for you. Next, look at the servings per container. If you decide this is a good food choice, then determine how many servings you can eat that can fit into your selected calorie level.

A large part of your diet is the amount of calories you eat daily.   The following are labels you may see on food products and what they mean.

Low Calorie: no more than 40 calories per serving

            Light or Lite: 33% fewer calories, 50% less fat, sugar or sodium of the original product

            Calorie Free: Less than 5 calories per serving

            Fat has more calories per gram, nine to be exact. Therefore, a low-fat diet is recommended. No more than thirty percent of daily calories should come from fat. Remember to limit saturated and trans fat as these are the unhealthiest; mono- and poly- unsaturated fats are the most desirable fats to include.

Low Fat: no more than 3 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat per serving

            Reduced Fat: 25% less fat than the regular product

            Fat Free: Less than 0.5 gram of fat per serving

On the ingredient list fats will also be listed as Hydrogenated, Coconut Oil, Palm Oil, Cream, Whole Milk or Mild Solids. If you choose to eat Beef in Phase V of the diet, look for round steak, sirloin, tenderloin, extra lean or flank.

Avoid added sugars and be cautious of sugar alcohols (sorbitol, xylitol). Sugars can be listed as brown sugar, corn syrup solids, dextrose, high fructose corn syrup, honey, fructose, crystalline fructose, maple sugars, invert sugar, molasses, sucrose, turbinado sugar and glucose. Sugar substitutes can be used as an alternative to regular sugar.

Reduced Sugar: 25% less sugar than the regular product

            Sugar-Free: Less than 0.5 grams of sugar per serving

Remember to read food labels carefully to select the best foods for you and…

Eat Well to Live Well.

By: Wendy N Brown, RD LD

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