I have been asked what I look on food labels when I look at a product in the grocery store. I thought that I would share this information with you and give a few of the tips that I have for reading a label quickly and easily at the store.
Of course being a vegetarian and gluten free, I naturally have to check all the labels to make sure there are no products that could potentially make me sick. But there are other important things to watch out for in ingredients and nutritional facts.
One of the major things I look at is trans fat. Trans fat is linked to many diseases and health issues. Mainly if most of the fat content comes from trans and saturated fats, I reconsider my purchase. However even if it says 0g there can be some hidden in the ingredients. Some words to watch out for are “shortening” and “hydrogenated” especially when it is “hydrogenated vegetable oil.
I normally look at products that are under 800mg of Sodium as too much sodium can cause health issues as well.
Fiber is extremely good for the body, so I normally look at grain products that have at least 3g per serving.
I don’t pay too much attention to calories, especially when the product has a lot of nutritional value in it. Why give up nutritional benefits because it has a lot of calories?
Sugar is another important thing I watch out for. I normally look for a low amount of sugar and products that have no added sugar. Some key words you might find in the ingredients that can mean added sugar are: “sugar”, ”sweetener”, “syrup”, “fructose”, and “glucose.”
A good nutritional source will have a vitamin count between 10 and 19%.
Lastly I stay away from “enriched” or “refined” ingredients as these tend to be stripped of their nutritional nutrients.