3 Reasons Why You Should Always Read Food Labels
Reading food labels is something you should do if you’re looking to control your weight or if you want to make sure that you’re making the right choices when it comes to nutrition. Living a healthy life is having enough knowledge about what’s good for you and what’s not that good for you.
Besides looking for the total calories and nutritional value of the product you’re about to purchase, there are other important things to look at regarding food labels. For example, you should also consider serving size, the origin of the product, added sugars, saturated and trans fat, sodium levels, cholesterol, etc.
So, here are some things to consider if you want to have an educated mind about the food labels and their benefits.
Whether you’re keeping your weight in check or you’re trying to lose those love handles at the sides of your waist, somehow, you must find a balance between the calories you intake and the calories you burn during the day.
If you want to control your weight, you’ll need to follow this simple formula – burn more calories than intake through food and beverages. Of course, every diet is based on a calorie deficit you can reach. Nevertheless, besides calories, one should be aware of the basic macronutrients a body needs to function properly. The daily amount of calories you need is somewhere between 2000 to 2500, but the actual amount depends on your age, sex, activity, weight, and a couple of other factors.
Even though some people may think you’re weird if you’re reading food labels, this could be very helpful and can have a great impact on your weight management. All of those hidden calories can be discovered if we look at the nutrition facts on the back of the food packages. Food labels are very informative, and we should be interested in what we put into our bodies.
For example, most salad dressings have mayonnaise as a primary ingredient, and a tablespoon (14 grams) of mayonnaise has 94 calories, with a stunning 93% coming from fat. Many would connect such salad with a healthy diet, but that’s so far from the truth if you take a peek at the label. Another example would be a convenient fruit and nut mix product that contains up to 350 calories per serving. Again, these snacks are considered healthy and are a good source of energy and protein, but they can lead you down the wrong path and sabotage your fitness goals if you are not careful with calorie intake.
Calories are energy, and you don’t need more calories than you can spend. If you’re looking to lose weight, the simple mathematics would be to determine your daily calorie intake and spend more calories than you can eat. However, it’s essential to cover all of the nutrients your body requires and still eat about 200 to 300 calories less than your recommended number of calories per day.
Look for the organic seal
If you genuinely want to live a healthy life, you should pay attention to whether the product is made from organic ingredients or not. Organic food is produced where little or no chemicals and pesticides are used in their production. Also, organic food is fresher and grown without any artificial fertilizers and substances that may harm your long-term health.
Products containing at least 95% organic ingredients are typically labeled as organic. Also, 100% organic products are made from 100% organic ingredients, and those are certified by the USDA. The USDA Organic Seal is the one you should search for since these products are made according to organic food standards and special conditions.
Many restaurants are serving fresh organic food and working under National Organic Program (NOP) regulations. In addition to that, companies are preparing and delivering the best organic meals made according to the latest USDA dietary guidelines. These organic meal delivery services offer high-quality and GMO-free meal kits prepared from ingredients of your preference. If you’re following a healthy meal plan, don’t be shy to ask for information about the products used to prepare your food. Many meal delivery services are fully transparent and will provide all of the exact ways your meal is prepared.
You’ve probably seen a “No Added Sugar” declaration on many products, and you don’t know what that means. This is mostly used on products ONLY made from whole fruit, which contain natural sugars that cannot harm you when taken in moderation. In addition, fructose and glucose, the two types of sugar found in fruit, will not affect your blood sugar and are completely safe for people with diabetes to consume if taken in their original form.
On the other hand, if you don’t see the declaration on a label that there is no additional sugar in whatever fruit product you choose to consume, there is a 99% chance that the product contains added sugar. In addition, products with highly processed fruits and flavored juice products are enhanced with industrial sweeteners and flavoring agents, which are not that good for you.
A popular belief would be that cereals are a good choice for breakfast. But, in reality, most breakfast cereals contain high amounts of added sugar and are considered highly processed. So, taking a bowl of cereal in the morning will lead you to crave an unhealthy snack or a meal high in carbs later on during the day due to a sudden drop of the sugar levels in your blood. This happens because added sugars found in cereals increase blood sugar and levels of insulin.
If you choose a cereal as your breakfast preference, make sure to choose a cereal that contains less than 5 grams of sugar per serving. Another solution would be to go with a much healthier alternative, such as oatmeal with honey and blueberries.