Before you take a bite of that so-called healthy breakfast bar, read the label. Many seemingly healthy foods are really loaded with fat and sugar. Knowing what to look for and how to properly read the label on the packaging can help you reach your weight loss goals a lot faster.
Did you know that some products claiming to aid in weight loss may actually only slow the process? Juices, sports drinks, some yogurts, and some protein bars and shakes are actually loaded with sugar which people looking to lose weight may want to limit. Take the time to go through your kitchen and you may be surprised at what you find. Replace any foods high in sugar and fat with similar products containing lower amounts.
Reading the labels:
At the top of the label you will find the serving size and the amount of servings per container. Serving size should be the first thing that you look at since all the following information on the label is a reflection of that specific amount. For example, if the serving size says “1/2 cup” and the total servings per container was equal to 1 cup, then the total amount of calories, fat, sugar, etc. would be doubled if you were to consume the entire product.
Calories and calories from fat
The next thing you will see is the number of calories and the amount of calories from fat. Many people just look at the amount of calories, but fail to notice the amount of calories from fat. Sometimes a product gets most of its calories from fat, in which case it may be a product you want to avoid altogether.
Fat, cholesterol, sodium, and sugar
As a general rule, these are the ones that you want to limit. Try to avoid trans fats and saturated fats especially.
Dietary fiber and vitamins
These are the nutrients you want to eat more of.
% Daily value
This is found as a percentage on the right hand side of the label. This percentage indicates daily value recommendations for a person based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Some people need to consume more or less than 2,000 calories a day which would alter the daily amount they’d need to consume. 5% or less is considered a low percentage of daily value while 20% indicates a high percentage of the daily value needed.
The first ingredient listed under the ingredients section, is usually the main ingredient used in the product.
Visit the FDA site for an in-depth explanation of labels and how to read them.
Consult with a specialist
Dietitians and nutritionists in Santa Ana can help you learn how to read labels and create customized meals plans to help you reach your goals a lot faster.
Click here to find a local dietitian in Santa Ana.
View more fitness tips in this series of articles here