Why You Should Read Food Labels

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Do you read food labels? If you are interested in your health and the health of your family it is good habit to have.

Reading labels can be quite revealing and sometimes surprising, and we shouldn’t take for granted something that is supposed to be “healthy” necessarily is.

For example, would it surprise you to know that some chewable vitamins (mostly for kids) may contain sugar? It seems ironic since they are promoting health with a supplement yet most would probably agree kids don’t need sugar in a vitamin!

I have checked out labels for drinks that are supposed to be meal replacements and healthy mid day snacks. The first ingredient is water and the second is sugar (or a dirivative of) as I discovered in some cases.

Juices often have added sugars or other additives which aren’t necessary, and frequently have water as the first ingredient.

Something else you may want to watch for is sodium content. It can vary widely with similar products, for example microwave popcorn. It is generally accepted that we don’t want a diet high in sodium if we want to maintain a healthy diet. Convenience foods and frozen foods are often extremely high in salt content. In some cases you may be getting almost all the recommended amount of daily sodium intake in one meal!

What has surprised me the most is diet supplements and products. Amazingly you can discover even these products contain sugar as a first or second ingredient. It seems that this is the last thing someone trying to lose weight needs!

Unfortunately many food labels have small print that is difficult to read, and have names that are unfamiliar to many people. Anything that ends in -ose is sugar of some kind. It’s a reality that sugar is added to almost everything, even some items you would not expect, such as pasta sauce.

The best way to eat healthy of course is to make everything at home. With today’s busy lifestyles that is not feasible for many people.

Therefore if you are trying to eat well the best suggestion I can make is to check labels carefully before you buy. That way you really can determine if that “healthy” item really is what it claims.

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