People look at the nutrition label for different reasons but it can be tricky for some people to understand completely. As consumers are becoming concerned about what they are consuming nowadays, some manufacturers try to use misleading tricks to sell their unhealthy or highly processed food products. The complex food labeling regulations make the understanding process more complex for common buyers. This article focuses on food labeling interpretation while how to understand the misleading labeling information.
The Nutrition Facts Label Anatomy
Information indicated on the top or main section of the nutrition fact label can vary according to the type of product. The bottom section of the label includes a footnote that indicates the overall calories or % Daily Value utilized for general nutrition advice.
- Serving Size: This is the primary part of a label that defines the amount people will consume at a time. Sometimes people misinterpret it as the number of food experts recommending eating at one time. Always keep in your mind how much is good for your body before eating any type of consumable.
- Total Calories: Along with the serving size, the number of calories is written which indicates calories contained in one single serving. In case you are having more than one serving, multiply the number of calories by the total servings you're consuming. Track calories burned and calories consumed easily on The Wellness Corner App.
- Cholesterol: High cholesterol in foods can lead to heart or cardiovascular problems. Try to consume a plant-based diet or low cholesterol foods.
- Fats - Trans & Saturated: If your food contains more saturated fat, added sugars, or sodium, it's time to eliminate it from your diet as this can cause you adverse health effects. It can increase bad cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein that can lead to stroke and heart disease.
Trans fats shall also be avoided as they can increase health problems like Type-2 diabetes.
- Sodium: For maintaining a heart-healthy diet, one needs to consume approx. 2300 mg sodium per day. The label with 140 mg or less is considered low sodium in the nutrition label.
- Total Carbohydrates - Sugar & Fiber: High in fiber foods are a beneficial fact to consider as high fiber not only decreases cholesterol but also manages blood sugar levels. Simple sugars can help give you energy but they can also increase triglyceride levels leading to diabetes or heart disease. Experts suggest not to consume more than 10% of overall daily calories from the added sugar.
- Protein: Protein is an essential part of a healthy diet. However, adding unwanted fatty meats, processed foods, and fats are not good. Vitamins & Other Nutrients: Important nutrients such as vitamins, iron, or calcium play a vital role in a healthy diet. This segment delivers information on important nutrients included in your foods
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The Misleading Claims You Should Not Fall For
Here are few points mentioned that try to convince you but you should avoid on a high note:
- Light products are processed to reduce fat or calories.
- Multigrain products only mean that it contains more than one type of grain, more likely refined ones unless it is marked whole grain.
- The natural label doesn't justify the resemblance of products but specifies that the manufacturer has included natural sources such as rice or apples.
- Organic is not always justifying itself as healthy as organic sugar will still remain sugar.
- No added sugar doesn't mean the product is healthy or low in sugar.
- Low-calorie products indicate that the product contains fewer calories than the original product.
- Low-fat products specify that fat amount has been minimized to add more sugar. Always read the ingredient list before purchasing such products.
- Low-carb foods are designed to improve health but if the processed food is tagged with this label, they are still junk foods or processed.
- Products tagged with whole grains may contain very little amount or a negligible amount of whole grains. Check the first three ingredients, if they are not grains, it's not what you're looking for.
- The gluten-free tag doesn't claim it to be healthy and can be processed, high in fats or sugar.
- Zero trans fat refers to less than 0.5 g of trans fat for each serving.
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Try to avoid processed food altogether by ignoring high fats and misled labeling information. In case you're dealing with some health issues, consult with our doctors or verified dietician virtually (chat/call/video) with The Wellness Corner app and stay fit. Add immunity-boosting foods to your meal plan for upgrading your quality of life.
What you eat matters. Find millions of items from the food database on The Wellness Corner app and let the AI-enabled platform give you instant insights on your macronutrient breakdown and calories. Log your meals, save them if the intake is regular, analyze the findings and alter your ideal diet accordingly.