The food label can be a useful tool in determining the nutritional value and overall safety of a food choice. However, it is very common for an individual to not fully understand the food label and miss the most important components. Don’t be fooled any longer!

Folly #1 Nutrition Facts

The grams of fat, carbohydrates, proteins, calories and serving size is not the most important part of the food label. This component of the food label does not take into account the quality of the nutrients and will commonly mislead the consumer. The recommended daily values do not take into account the age, gender, activity level or specific dietary needs a person may have.

Folly #2 Boisterous Claims

We all know that most advertising claims are false or misleading; the boisterous food advertising campaigns can be the largest culprits. Cereals have been under investigation by the FDA for misleading health benefits such as “low in fat” or “low in cholesterol”. A consumer will look at these claims and forget to look at the type and quality of the nutrients on the ingredients list.

Folly #3 Low Fat Campaigns

A food product that is low in fat or low in carbohydrates does not necessarily make it a healthy food to consume. It is the type of fat and carbohydrate that will make it a good or bad dietary choice. Beware of misleading advertising.

Folly #4 Organic

Beware of organic sections in your local grocery store! Being an organic food does not necessarily make it good for you. Examples may include organic sugar and potato chips.

Folly #5 Shrinking Serving Size

Watch out for hidden ingredients and ingredients that you can not pronounce.

-Sugars are commonly hidden on the ingredient list of the product. If you see any ingredients ending in “ose”, it’s a sugar.

- Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) is a powerful neurotoxin and has been found to damage the integrity of one’s immune system.

- Artificial sweeteners such as Splenda, NutraSweet and Equal are common substitutions or additions that have no nutritional value and have been shown to be extremely toxic in clinical studies.

-Hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils are actually trans-fats. If the trans-fat has a quantity per serving of 500 mg or less it can boast “trans-fat free” on the label. You may notice that the serving size has conveniently shrunk over the years.

5 Steps to Better Shopping

#1 Focus on the actual ingredients versus the percent of daily values.

#2 Look for a minimum number of ingredients—the less the better.

#3 Look for natural ingredients. Avoid ingredients you can’t read or pronounce because they are probably man made.

#4 Buy more food that does not require a food label. Eat more fruits and vegetables.

#5 Make a habit of checking the label on each item that you buy. It will quickly become a habit and won’t add any extra time to your trip to the store.

Nutritious Recipes

Raving Raspberry Smoothie

1-2 scoops Whey Protein Powder
3-4 tablespoons Organic Yogurt
½-1 cup Berries
½ teaspoon Stevia or Xylitol
Add water to desired thickness

Author's Bio: 

Cory Couillard is an international healthcare speaker and writer for numerous newspapers, magazines, websites and publications around the world. In 2011 he received a prestigous Humanitarian Award for his tireless work while living in Africa. He has been named to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation media team for the advancement of healthcare communications in Africa. He communicates to millions of people weekly.
Twitter: Cory_Couillard