The health craze of the 1980s got everyone looking at what goes into the food with eat. The government stepped in and forced food manufacturers to come clean with labels letting us know just what we’re putting on our tables. This was a great step forward and we’ve never looked back. But that doesn’t mean the food manufacturers like the idea.
Turns out a lot of the food we eat regularly was full of harmful stuff, which kept the manufacturer’s production costs down. However they played along and on today’s food labels every product is good for you, or so the companies claim. And they’ve tucked a few tricks up their sleeves in the last few decades to convince you you’re getting the very best nature has to offer.
There are a lot of low-fat offerings these days and we turn to them when we’re trying to shed pounds. However sugar and fat are not the same thing. Sugar has no fat. That makes the label you’re studying look like the right way to go for a healthy alternative. But always check the sugar content. Sugar is high in calories and is a great source of energy. That energy has to be used or it gets stored in the body as fat. So unless you’re living a full, active lifestyle with regular exercise, you don’t need all that excess energy.
This is the big one and it was the easiest fix for the food companies. By reducing the portion size that they use on the food labels, high calorie foods suddenly don’t look so bad. So read the label carefully here. As a ‘normal’ portion might be twice or even three times the size of the one itemized on the label, you’re getting more than you bargained for while thinking you’re getting less.
This is another key item to check when scrutinizing a food label. Always check just how much of your daily requirement of fats, carbs, protein and calories a particular food item contains. The actual amount might seem low but as a percentage of your daily intake, the numbers might tell a different story. If you’ve already taken in a good portion of a particular nutrient over the course of the day, you may want to avoid overloading on it. So check those percentages and remember we need 100% of our daily nutrients… not 200% or 300%.
All right, let’s admit it, salt is in everything. When you think about it table salt should have ceased to exist long ago. There’s never a reason to dash salt on the foods we eat in the 21st century. Even low sodium options still have plenty. Check these amounts carefully on your food labels before you reach for the salt shaker.
Luckily most food producers now break down the various fats on their labels and we need to check them carefully. Do your research. Learn what you can about saturated fat, poly unsaturated fat and so on. Know what they do in the body and how much you need.