All the information you need about food is right on the label.
However, do you know the hidden truth in food labeling?
First, remember these terms apply per serving.
1. Low Calorie — Less than 40 calories or 1/3rd fewer calories than original
2. Calorie-Free — Less than 5 calories
3. Low Cholesterol —20 mg of cholesterol and 2 gm of saturated fat
4. Zero Trans-Fat— less than 0.5 grams of trans-fat
5. Low Sodium —140 mg or less of sodium
6. Fat-Free/Sugar-Free — Less than ½ gram of fat or sugar
7. Reduced — 25% less nutrient or calories
8. Good source of — provides at least 10% of the nutrient DV
9. High in — Provides 20% or more of the DV
Visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics on Understanding Food Marketing Terms for more information.
Second, how much is a serving size?
Don’t mistake a serving size as one cookie, an entire container of soda or a whole granola bar. A serving is usually only a portion of the item, not the whole thing.
Serving size “schemes” lead you to believe they contain fewer calories or less sugar.
Find the real calories, multiply the label serving size by the number of servings you consume.
The first three things in the ingredients list tell the secret.
- Listed by quantity — from highest to lowest amount.
- Unhealthy if first three ingredients include refined grains, sugar, or hydrogenated oils.
- Healthy if whole foods in the first three ingredients.
- Highly processed with a list longer than two to three lines.
These “healthy-sounding” labels don’t necessarily mean healthy.
• Multigrain —more than one type of grain, maybe refined grains
• Natural — manufacturer used a natural source such as apples or rice
• Organic —doesn’t mean healthy, for example, organic sugar is still sugar
• Fat-Free and Low-Fat—made with extra sugar or sodium for better taste
• Light — reduced calories or fat, and may be watered down
• No added sugar — beware, may be sugar substitutes
• Low-carb— may be processed junk foods, like processed low-fat foods
• Made with whole grains— not classified as healthy, if not listed in the first three ingredients
• Fortified or enriched—merely means some added nutrients
• Gluten-free— doesn’t contain wheat, spelt, rye, or barley, but can be highly processed with added fats and sugar
• Fruit-flavored —may only contain fruit tasting chemicals
Visit https://www.healthline.com/nutrition for more information.
A “Rose is a Rose” and “Sugar is Still Sugar”
Food manufacturers use unfamiliar terms to disguise the presence of sugar in their products.
A product may be loaded with sugar, but may not appear as one of the first three ingredients.
Don’t Be Fooled, Become familiar with the following names of sugar.
• Types of sugar: beet, brown, buttered, cane, caster, coconut, date, golden, invert, muscovado, organic raw, evaporated cane juice, and confectioners.
• Examples of syrup: carob, golden, high-fructose corn, honey, agave nectar, malt, maple, oat, rice bran, and rice.
To avoid added sugar, check the label for ingredients ending in “ose” (glucose, sucrose, dextrose) because these are all forms of sugar.
Adda Bjarnadottir, MS on February 27, 2019
Read more about this here. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-to-read-food-labels#bottom-line
Labeling as Natural
According to USDA guidelines, meat and poultry with no added coloring and minimal processing may be labeled as “Natural”.
Processed and Unprocessed
The USDA uses the “processed” label for food that has undergone a “change of character.” For example, raw nuts (unprocessed) vs. roasted nuts (processed); edamame (unprocessed) vs. tofu (processed); a head of lettuce (unprocessed) vs. cut, pre-washed lettuce (processed).
For further information read here. http://bit.ly/2Fa1uUp