Checking at least the first four ingredients of a food's label will indicate how bad the product is for you.
Food for thought: reading food labels
The latest research tells us that looking at the calorie content of food isn’t necessarily the best way to make a choice about what to eat. What we really should be paying attention to are the actual ingredients.
A great tip to remember is that the ingredients are always listed in descending order of quantity. With this in mind, the first five ingredients are the most significant.If salts or sugars are anywhere in the top five then it’s best to choose again.
There can be massive difference in the ingredients for similar items but from different brands – pasta sauces are an excellent example. Some contain added sugars while others keep it simple and natural with tomato, olive oil and garlic – it’s a no-brainer which is better. You can be making far healthier choices without even changing your regular eating habits.
Knowledge is power, especially in the label-reading arena, so to hone your decision-making even more, there are a few usual suspects that are commonly added to foods that can be seen on the ingredients list. Many of these ingredients have noted detrimental affects on our health and some are directly associated with obesity and diabetes.
Take a look at this list – if any of these feature in the ingredients of an item, then it’s definitely to be avoided for the sake of your health and waistline: trans fats; hydrogenated fats or partially hydrogenated fats; sodium; corn syrup; fructose or glucose; artificial colourings; artificial flavours; E numbers; artificial sweeteners such as acesulfame-K, aspartame, and saccharine; propyl galate; monosodium glutamate; sodium nitrate; and nitrites.
Laura Holland is a well-being consultant and nutritional therapist. For more information, visit www.BeUtifulYou.co.uk