With umpteen number of diet books and information that is published everywhere; it’s a bit disappointing to see that most of them choose to make people oblivious of one of the most useful weight loss advice, i.e about food labels.
Having so many food choices over the shelves, food labels is the way you can make wisest choices when you’re trying to lose weight. This is especially true because the claims that are mentioned on food packages can be really deceiving in many cases until you unravel the truth by getting into its detail.
Given below are the things that you must consider in a food label to determine if you should actually eat it or how much should you consume, if you’re watching your weight meter:
Find Out How Many Calories Are You Consuming in One Serving?
People often mistake thinking that any package or bottle consists of one serving. Few days back, I was looking at a beverage bottle that people usually gulp down at once. While the label of that bottle suggested that it contains 100 calories in one serving, which is very much okay, people fail to realize that one bottle actually has three servings and finishing a bottle means consuming 300 calories in one go. Now this is a lot more than any weight watcher would expect to consume in one beverage.
Similarly, there was this frozen meal that I saw in a store which seemed promising for those who’re looking to lose weight, and I thought to myself, “How cool is that!” The package clearly said 350 calories per serving only. But as I went ahead and grabbed it, it’s label said 2 servings while most people purchasing it would assume it to be one serving only and gladly consume the whole thing thinking that they’re consuming only 350 calories and not 700 calories.
Analyze the Label Holistically
This means that you must start analyzing the label by evaluating various items together. The first three ingredients on the label are especially very important. That’s primarily what you’re going to eat. In case, the ingredient says grains, you’d want to know that it’s whole grains as their per calorie nutrition value is higher than those of refined grains.
Also, the fiber in the former makes it more filling and yet less in calories, so you do not get hungry again quickly and are able to keep a check on your weight easily. You can always look for the Whole Grain Stamp on food packages. If you’re confused in choosing a pack of chips, for example, the one that has the whole grain stamp on it should be the easy pick for you.
Similarly, there are also groups such as American Heart Association or food manufacturers that have now started putting on their “healthy-choice” stamp on certain foods. But basing your choice solely on that stamp is not the solution. Again, you need to look at things holistically. Like, a health label may suggest that a particular food is not high in saturated fat but didn’t reveal that it has high content of refined sugar. This is why it is important that you verify the nutritional facts by going through the ingredient list yourself.
Another example is the federal regulations that allow a food label to call itself free of trans fat even if it consists of 0.5 trans fats in one serving or even less. So if you really want to make sure that it is actually trans fats free, you will have to take a look at its ingredients list and see that it doesn’t list hydrogenated oils there even partially.
It’s best to avoid package food as much as possible and switch to fresh healthy meal delivery services that serve fresh and tasty food at your doorstep. But if you’re too tempted to buy package foods, be sure to check the above things before making the purchase.
For those of you who wish to switch to meal delivery services, you can take advantage of Nutrisystem discount for January or coupon code for eDiets program to see which one works the best for you. You can let the hassle of calories you’re consuming be handled by the providers of these popular meal delivery programs.
If you’re doubtful, you can always enquire about the per meal calories from the delivery man. Although the daily number of calories that should be consumed by a person depends on several factors, like your daily physical activity, gender, and others; still for an average women, let’s say, average calorie consumption per day shouldn’t cross the 1700 calories mark.
Similarly, even when you’re buying any packaged foods, you can always calculate the calories for yourself accordingly.
Do you ever stop to check food labels? Have you ever found any discrepancy between what the claims say and what their food labels or ingredients list actually revealed? Share it all with us in the comments section.
Eru Gomes loves writing about door-to-door meal delivery programs and weight loss tips that are both healthy and easy on the pocket. She’s working on making her own weight loss site for her dedicated reader base some time soon. Gomes is an opinionated, health freak and loves sharing her unique insights with her readers. In her free time, she loves gardening and staying off the computer screen as much as possible. She lives in Plainwell, Michigan.