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The Facts About Nutrition Labels

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How Can You Make Better Food Choices?

Eating healthy isn’t as easy as it sounds. I’m not just talking about the abundance of sinful indulgences, desserts and snack foods… Many of the foods we choose are not as healthy as they may seem.  Many consumers are oblivious to what they are actually eating. You’d be surprised to know some of the facts about nutrition labels. A critical tool for making better food choices is learning how to read food labels.

facts about nutrition labels

The Facts About Nutrition Labels

Reading labels helps us make better food choices.  Yet, label reading is perplexing at best. To assist in increasing the ease of label reading, the FDA has proposed bringing “important” information from the back of a package. The FDS proposed listing it on the front. It is called, Front of Package Nutrition Labeling, FOPNL.

The CDC published a study, “Evaluation of Consumer Understanding of Different Front-of-Package Nutrition Labels, 2010–2011”,  evaluating the effectiveness of FOPNL. The study tested 4 different types of labels that focus on calories, saturated fat, sugar, and sodium, check out the images here. The labels used in the study improved healthier food choices when compared with products that did not use FOPNL.

Is this a step in the right direction? Maybe. But, why not increase the size of the ingredient section and put that in the front of the package?

Nutrition Labels List Food Ingredients To Eat And To Avoid

The FOPNL certainly has worked to selectively focus on certain health buzzwords like low-fat or low-calories. But these terms are deceptive.  When you choose to eat processed foods that contain artificial ingredients, they seem healthier than they really are. Many people might choose to eat a low-fat 100-calorie snack pack before eating a food that is loaded with nutrients just because it is Naturally higher in fat. An avocado, for example, contains approximately 110 calories and many more nutrients (fiber, B-vitamins, folic acid) than a 100 calorie snack pack.

Why not take the effort and campaign money to steer the consumer towards making this type of comparison between foods? It is important for people to get into the habit of snacking on real vegetables and fruits. The current label system helps to boost sales for commercially prepared and marketed foods based on trendy buzzwords.

The most important part of the label is the ingredient section. There are certain ingredients that you should not consume. You might be interested in reading, Healthy Nutrition Secrets.

Then find the number of portions and check out the calories and distribution of nutrients contained within the package.

Label Reading Wrap up

If you read a label as the FDA proposes, your food choices will not necessarily focus on healthful foods, such as vegetables, seeds, nuts or low-glycemic fruits. These are the foods and snacks that you should be eating more of. Real foods do not contain labels. Instead, labels can steer you away from making healthier choices.

Learn how to read a nutrition label in three easy steps. My book, The Stubborn Fat Fix, will help guide you towards eating healthier for a lifetime.

I do not need research results to sway my practical opinion. I believe that consumers are smart. You understand that if you want a low-calorie food eating non-starchy vegetables gives you the most nutrient bang for the calorie “buck”. If you are in denial and think a 100 calorie processed snack pack is going to make you healthier and weigh less over the long-term. I have a bridge to sell you.

Don’t let FOPNL fool you when it comes to knowing the facts about good nutrition choices. Use your common sense to make healthier food choices.

About the author

Valerie Goldstein

Valerie raises the bar for health and nutrition know how with unconventional expertise and unconditional support for wellness.