Reading The Nutrition Label

Are you that person who carefully studies the nutritional label on the package before purchasing it? Some may find it a little obsessive, but a new 2012 study shows that people who read the nutrition label are generally thinner than those who don’t…  The study, which is based on over 25.000 people’s shopping and eating habits, also highlights that women are more likely to read the label than men, and that the average label-reader weighs around 9 lbs less than the non-readers.

Reading the label doesn’t have to take hours and you don’t have to check every single item you buy. But checking the label is a great eye-opener that allows you to discover how many non-food ingredients are in many of the foods on the shelves of the typical supermarket. Reading the label will make you aware of how many commercial types of bread, even whole grain varieties, as well as so-called ”healthy” dairy products, cereals and other snacks, contain high amounts of sugar (even if the packaging says “light”), artificial sweeteners, preservatives and coloring agents (often listed in the form of “E” numbers and other names you can’t pronounce).

As a rule of thumb; the less ingredients the better! If the ingredient list is full of things you don’t know what are -leave it. Your body will thank you! When checking the specific nutrients you want less sugar, sodium & saturated and more fiber & protein. (Checking the calories alone can be deceiving and tells you nothing about the nutritional quality of a food).

But labels aside; the very best and most nutritious foods are often the ones without a label. Fresh fruits & vegetables, lean meats, fish and whole grains, nuts & seeds bought bulk at the health food store rarely have a label – yet all of these have a high quality nutritional profile, have not been processed and are the main constituents of a healthy diet and a healthy body. Green markets are a great place to find in season fresh local & organic produce. Click here to find a Green Market near you if you live in New York state.

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