Food labels tell us so much about the product we are about to consume! It provides us with a list of ingredients as well as the nutritional breakdown. Many foods may be packaged as healthy, but their profile can tell a different story. That is why it is essential to read the label on the foods you want to consume. Here are a few things to look out for when reading food labels, to ensure you truly are buying a healthy product.
1. Sugar – If you are looking to purchase a healthy food it should contain no more than 10 grams of sugar per serving. Items with a higher sugar content will spike blood sugar levels and cause you to feel hungry once those levels drop, usually resulting in overeating.
2. Fibre – Most people do not consume enough fibre per day. The general recommendation for adults is 40 grams per day. Fibre helps to slow digestion, which makes you feel fuller longer and also helps to control blood sugar levels. Fibre is also important for your digestive health. It helps ensure you do not become constipated and helps all that food and waste move through your digestive track. Try to avoid foods with little to no fibre. Generally a healthy food should have at least 3 grams of fibre per serving.
3. Trans fat – Avoid this at all costs. If a food does have teams fat in it steer clear. Trans fats have been linked to heart disease and lower you good cholesterol (HDL) while raising your bad cholesterol (LDL).
4. Protein – If you are looking for a healthy food that will keep you full, aim to get something that contains protein. Protein is slower digesting, does not spike blood sugar and makes you feel fuller longer. It is generally recommended that women consume about .5 of a gram of protein per pound of body weight per day. Keep this in mind when choosing foods and reading labels.
5. Names you can’t pronounce – If the ingredient list includes many hard to pronounce words it is probably a processed food filled with preservatives, chemicals, flavour enhancers and colourings. These foods are generally low on nutrients and high in fillers. Stay away from them as they wont be as filling as other choices. When looking at ingredient lists try to choose foods with fewer ingredients and ones that you know. The simpler the better!