comment sovereignjohn:

The best way to avoid mistakes with labels is to each real food from local sources and avoid the supermarket and packaged foods completely or as much as possible. The front packaging is designed to fool your eye and deceive you. If foodstuff makers are making produce that they need to fool you about then perhaps they don’t have your best interest in mind and instead are thinking profit, profit and more profit. Remember, you children eat this crap too and you are teaching them to trust Agribusiness instead of finding a local farmer which you can contract to grow a healthy animal without chemicals and hormones. Find some friends and go together to buy a calf to be raised to adulthood. Decide who gets what parts and enjoy real food. Now that’s friendship !!!!

Reading labels is so confusing it is hard to keep up with all of the new rules and what they mean to the appearance of the label. I have compiled a few tips to assist you in deciphering labels.

1. If a label says reduced fat or sodium, that means that the fat has been reduced 25% from the original item or a similar item. It does not mean that the food is low in fat or sodium, just lower than the original

2. Remember all of the information listed on the label is based on a 200 calorie a day diet. Adjust the numbers to fit your caloric intake

3. Read the list of ingredients. The are listed in the order of amounts. When an item is listed first, this means that there is more of that item than any other item in the food. Second is second most and so on

4. Find out how many servings there are in the package. Even when the item is packages as a “single serving” there can be more than one serving in the package. Be sure to know so that you can make an educated choice on how much you are going to eat.

The other thing to think about is the language that is used on the package. This can be very deceiving. Below are some common misleading terms and the federal requirements that food companies must meet to use these terms. Get familiar with them some of them may surprise you.

No fat or fat free: Contains less than 1/2 gram of fat per serving
Lower or reduced fat: Contains at least 25 percent less per serving than the reference food. (An example might be reduced fat cream cheese, which would have at least 25 percent less fat than original cream cheese.)
Low fat: Contains less than 3 grams of fat per serving
Lite: Contains 1/3 the calories or 1/2 the fat per serving of the original version or a similar product No calories or calorie free: Contains less than 5 calories per serving
Low calories: Contains 1/3 the calories of the original version or a similar product
Sugar free: Contains less than 1/2 gram of sugar per serving
Reduced sugar: at least 25% less sugar per serving than the reference food
No preservatives: Contains no preservatives (chemical or natural)
No preservatives added: Contains no added chemicals to preserve the product. Some of these products may contain natural preservatives
Low sodium: contains less than 140 mgs of sodium per serving
No salt or salt free: Contains less than 5 mgs of sodium per serving
High fiber: 5 g or more per serving (Foods making high-fiber claims must meet the definition for low fat, or the level of total fat must appear next to the high-fiber claim)
Good source of fiber: 2.5 g to 4.9 g. per serving
More or added fiber: Contains at least 2.5 g more per serving than the reference food

Knowing these things will make it easier for you to make better choices when you are shopping. Remember to shop the perimeter of the store for the most healthy and whole foods.

Diana has been helping people reach their fitness goals for over 23 years.

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