learning how to read food labels for weight loss.Grocery shopping can be a challenge, especially when trying to eat healthily. It can be confusing trying to understand nutrition labels on the fly before throwing an item in your cart. However, learning how to read food labels is imperative when trying to lose weight as it’s important to know what you are eating to ensure the healthiest option and proper nutrition. You aren’t the only one who has trouble understanding the details of food labels, as the regulations surrounding them can make them complex. Don’t be tricked by food labels and use this guide to simplify your grocery shopping struggle of choosing the healthiest option by reading food labels with these tips in mind.

Details on the Front Can Be Deceiving

The front of packaged food often has healthy claims that can easily fool you about what’s actually inside. A helpful tip is to totally ignore what the front of the package says. According to research, placing labels with health claims on the front of products makes consumers believe the product is healthier compared to identical products without them. Manufactures have a way of marketing a product to be healthy or nutritious without telling the whole truth, deceiving many customers on the actual nutritional value. Ignore the front label and make sure to read the ingredient list to actually identify how healthy something is.

Knowing the Ingredients Is Imperative

Ingredients, typically listed on the back of the package, are the most truthful area to find out what you are actually eating. A valuable thing to know is that ingredients are listed in order of quantity, from what is used most to least. Therefore, the first ingredient listed is the ingredient that was used the most in the product. Study the first three ingredients listed to understand the main components of what you’re eating. If one of the first ingredients is sugar, glucose, or any variation of it, you can usually assume the product isn’t the healthiest. Additionally, the longer the list of ingredients is, the more processed that particular food is. Shop for items with whole grains listed as the main ingredients and be cautious of products with complex and long ingredient lists.

Study Serving Sizes

Serving sizes are another tricky area of food labels that can be misleading. Nutrition labels tell how many calories, carbs, and protein there is in a product by a suggested single serving size. It’s easy to assume the entire container has one serving in it. However, this is likely not the case and manufactures can trick people into thinking there are fewer calories in an item by suggesting a much smaller serving size.  For example, one serving size could be the number of calories for one cookie in a box with two cookies. Don’t fall for this trick and know ahead of time that the serving size is usually smaller than what you’d typically eat at one sitting. Multiply the serving size by the actual amount you consumed to figure out the nutritional value of what you actually ate, not what the serving size suggested.

Learning how to read food labels is imperative to understanding nutrition facts and how to choose the healthiest options, especially if you are trying to lose weight. If this is something you struggle with, consider seeking the help of a nutritionist. Diet Doc staffs a team of doctors, nutritionists, and weight loss coaches to help patients stay on track and achieve the greatest results. Learn more about our doctor-supervised weight loss plans today!