When we shop for just about anything, the first thing that helps us decide to inspect anything more closely is the way it looks. Bright packaging, fancy names, great smells, all draw us in closer to something, and are often the deciding factor in whether we purchase it or not.
When attempting to make healthy choices we often look for words like “natural”, “local”, “grass fed”, and “organic.” We then dive right into the back of the package to take a look at the nutritional information. Many of us look, but really have no clue what it is we are looking for. We see the number zero and the more we see it, the more we are convinced that the product is healthy. These numbers and the information found on most packaging of foods is highly misleading, as manufacturers are legally allowed to base nutrition facts on one serving alone. This way, companies are able to only divulge what is contained in a single serving when the entire contents of the food container might be 3 times as much. These three tips will help you the next time you’re looking for healthy food options, and assist you in making better choices.
Zero Grams Trans Fat
If one serving of a portion of food has less than half a gram of trans fat, the manufacturer is legally allowed to round down to zero grams. So basing your purchase on the fact that there’s no trans fat, may not be entirely wise. Anything up to 0.49 grams of trans fat is typically listed as zero. And if you didn’t know, all forms of hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oil is trans fat. So, reading the ingredients as well as the numbers on the nutrition facts label is the best way to make your choices.
Multi-Grain vs. Whole Grains
At first glance, the word multi-grain seems like the healthier option. However, a multi-grain, in actuality, is a whole grain mixed with an enriched grain. This means that, a whole grain is actually better for you in terms of health than a multi-grain. Always read the ingredients to make sure the first ingredient contains the word “whole” and not “multi.” Another tick that manufacturers use is throwing the word “enriched” into the mix. Do not be fooled, this means “multi.”
Sugar Free vs. Unsweetened or No Sugar Added
Arguably one of the biggest misconceptions is the fact that sugar free and no sugar added are the same. “Sugar free” means the food has less than 0.5 grams of sugar per serving or that the food itself has been sweetened using some form of artificial sweeteners. “Unsweetened” however, means no sugars or artificial sweeteners have been added, but it does not mean there is no sugar in the actual product. Many sugar free claims actually show zero grams on the label but have artificial sweeteners used in their production. Do not fall into the sugar trap, know the difference between them all.
Consult your primary care physician or chiropractor for any medical related advice.
This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of The Joint Corp (or its franchisees and affiliates). You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.