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How to Interpret Food Labels and Distinguish Truth From The Lies

The foods that taste the best tend to be the same options that are loaded with calories, fat, sugars and sodium. In order to get these items to sell, nutritional details are often cleverly composed to deceive the haphazard reader. Following are four quick tips for interpreting food labels to ensure that you get the optimum amount of nutrients as you work to build a healthier body.

1. Servings
Although food manufacturers have strict regulations on the amount and types of product information that they must disclose, they also have a number of clever ways for disguising these mandatory details as something more desirable than they really are. For instance, a high-fat dessert that is clearly portioned for a single serving may be marked as having a very low fat and calorie count. If buyers study the food labels carefully, however, they might find that the fat grams and calories that are listed are only representative of a small portion of the total product. Thus, many consumers will be surprised to learn that although their favorite pints of ice cream appear to contain only 18 grams of fat, this information is only relevant when the consumer eats just one-fourth of the pint, rather than the entire product which will contain a whopping 72 fat grams.

2. Doubled Nutrients
Another thing that dieters commonly overlook when scanning food labels are double listings for nutrients. These are usually displayed in two columns and reveal the nutrients, calories and fat for a single serving of the product when served alone and this same information when the product is combined with a compatible, but not included food. For instance, cold cereal will usually list the product information for a serving of cereal side-by-side with the nutritional information for a single serving of cereal when combined with whole or low-fat milk. If this information is not carefully reviewed, a high-sugar, high-calorie cereal can appear to be a lot more beneficial than it really is, as most of the nutritional value will be representative of the serving of milk. Often when reading the entry for a food of this type when served separately, people find that it is comprised of empty calories with unnecessary amounts of sugar.

3. Basics
There is one very simple rule of thumb that shoppers can stick to that will ensure a very minimal consumption of edible compounds, preservatives and non-food substances. This is to simply avoid food products that have extensive ingredients lists. The more ingredients that an items contains, the more chemicals and chemical compounds it will ultimately have. Five or less ingredients is generally best, however, some products may have longer lists that include a number of all-natural items such as onions, garlic or other natural flavorings. Dieters should steer clear of additives that are unrecognizable and difficult to pronounce as these are rarely true foods and are thus, not easily recognized or processed by the body.

4. Eating Out
It also always pays to study food product information in advance of dining out. Few fast food restaurants offer comfortable areas in which people can learn about what they are eating. A number of the available options on fast food menus can be quite deceiving in terms of how they look, how they are packaged and the manner in which they are marketed. This same applies to a number of popular dine-in restaurant menus as well. It is far easier to make an informed choice when dining out if you haven't read up on the different product details while standing in line, rolling through the drive-thru or hastily ordering a meal to immediately sate your hunger.

Choosing the right foods to eat is just as important as limiting your fat and calorie intake. Even seemingly healthy items can contain a number of undesirable and unnecessary ingredients that are likely to be stored as extra body fat. Excess food toxins play a large role in the development of cellulite, ill-health and general malaise. Given their ability to conceal larger than average fat and calorie contents, deceptive food labels have and will continue to overthrow many otherwise successful diets. Learning how to discern the benefits of different ingredients and nutrients in your foods is key to gaining the most desirable results from healthy living.

Author Marta Kilburg writes about dieting & making money

Suzanne Somers

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