Reading Food Labels

Woman checking food labelling in supermarket

Reading food labels can seem difficult and confusing. With everything from nutrition facts to ingredients lists, it is easy to misunderstand what is on the label. Looking at the ingredients can give you a better idea of if that product is good for you or not. 

When reading the list of ingredients, it is important to note that some ingredients have more than one name that they might be going by. Some of these ingredients include:

    • Sugar
      • Sugar can go by so many names, it might be easy to miss! Sugar can also be called things like high-fructose corn syrup, agave nectar, and barley malt syrup. 
    • Sodium
      • Sodium is in a lot of things and can also go by several names. These names include things like sal, sodium benzoate, disodium, and monosodium glutamate.
  • Trans Fats
    • Trans fats typically aren’t listed simply as trans fats, they are listed as ingredients that contain trans fats. These are things like hydrogenated oil.

Reading food labels can be confusing at first, but as you research and learn more about how they work, you will better understand what to look for. If the ingredient list seems too long for that particular food, don’t eat it. If you can’t read it, don’t eat it. If it contains ingredients you are not familiar with, don’t eat it. If it looks like it came from a factory or laboratory instead of a kitchen, stay away. Don’t eat it.

Your body is built to run on real, whole foods. Choose foods made from whole grains, whole fruits and vegetables, and other real ingredients.

Source: https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/nutrition-basics/understanding-ingredients-on-food-labels