|Source: iStock Photos|
Trying to lose weight? Trying to be healthier this year? Keep in mind the true meaning of the following food labels (nutrition and nutrient claims);
Whole Grain: Sure, the food may have whole grains, but it may not be a significant amount. In other words, there is probably a bread or pasta on the shelf with more whole grains, and that is the one that has the "100% Whole Grain" claim. You want more whole grains for more fiber, B-vitamins, and other nutrients.
Multigrain: This is my favorite. The "multigrain" claim sounds so healthy, doesn't it?? Every once in a while you will find a bread, cereal, pasta, etc. that claims to be "multigrain" that is actually made with multiple whole grains, but most often it's just made with several grains that are refined. Or, sometimes you will see; refined wheat...a few other ingredients.... and oats. Great. One whole grain (the oats) and it's the least prevalent grain. Not as healthy as you thought, right?! Does this mean don't buy it? Not at all, just be aware you may not be getting what you think.
Gluten Free: Do you believe there are still people out there who think that "gluten free" means healthy, or low-fat? Believe it. And, it's not true. In fact, many gluten-free foods have more fat and more sugar than their gluten-filled originals. Read the nutrition facts carefully. Period.
|This is a gluten free cookie cake (DELICIOUS!). It had 10 grams more sugar than the non-gluten free version on the shelf.|
No High Fructose Corn Syrup: Mmmm k. So what?! If you are trying to avoid HFCS because you think it's highly processed and detrimental to your health for some reason, that's fine (although I don't really think it's as bad as some people think, but that's for another blog post) but don't be fooled into thinking it will cause weight gain any more than the other "added sugars". Most foods with the claim "no HFCS" still have other sugars like sucrose, molasses, honey, evaporated cane juice, etc, which are almost exactly the same as HFCS. In other words, the company is just swapping one added sugar for another. You want to limit all types of sugars if you are trying to lose, or maintain a healthy weight.
|This is a label for bread.|
Trans Fat Free: Trans-fat free just means the product contains half a gram, or less trans fat per serving. Eat more than one serving and you could possibly have close to a full gram of trans fat! That's a full gram too much. Instead of looking for "trans fat free" look at the ingredient list and make sure there are no "hydrogenated" or "partially hydrogenated" oils.
Organic: Doesn't always mean healthy. Period. Have you seen the "organic candy bars"? They were made with organic ingredients, not less sugar, or less fat, or whole grains, or whatever else you associate with "healthy" (learn more about what "organic" means by purchasing my book, or viewing the USDA website).
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Looking for "organic" and "natural" foods? Look in your produce aisle for the best options. Then you will know you are making a delicious and healthy choice!