Read the Fine Print

The numbers in the Nutrition Facts Label don’t tell the whole story. Check for these five things when reading the ingredients list.

LENGTH OF THE LIST. Is it longer than a research paper? Put it back. Look for short, legible lists of ingredients that you can actually pronounce.

RANK & ORDER. Did you know the ingredients list is in order of weight, from most to least? The first few ingredients comprise the largest portion of your food. If sugar or salt show up early in the list, consider a healthier option.

SUGAR SYNONYMS. Honey, molasses, “syrup” varieties, and words ending in “-ose” are sugar. Even with organic or more wholesome sounding sugars…calorie-for-calorie, sugar is sugar.

SODIUM. Chemistry taught us that table salt is sodium chloride, but sodium sneaks by under many other names: sodium benzoate, sodium nitrate, and monosodium glutamate (MSG).

TRANS FATS. Manufacturers are allowed to round down from 0.5. This means that if your food has less than 0.5 grams of fat, your label will tell you ‘0 grams.’ That’s why the only way to truly know if your food has trans fats is to read the ingredients for a fully or partially hydrogenated oil of any kind. There is no safe amount of trans fats. They raise inflammation1 and small, dense LDL particles2, while decreasing your healthy, “helper” HDL cholesterol3.

– True Health Clinical Health Consultant Stacie Wheatley, MA, RD, LD

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For more information on nutrition for exercise and other lifestyle tips, contact True Health Diagnostics at 877-443-5227 to set up an appointment with a Clinical Health Consultant.

References:

1. Dietary intake of trans fatty acids and systemic inflammation in women. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15051604
2. Effect of different forms of dietary hydrogenated fats on LDL particle size. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12936917.
3. Trans fat is double trouble for your heart health. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/in-depth/trans-fat/art-20046114?pg=1.

All True Health Diagnostics materials are provided for your information only and may not be construed as medical advice or instruction. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on contents of this information. Readers should always consult the appropriate health professional on any matters related to their health.