Reading Nutrition Labels to Assist Weight Loss

The information you need to avoid foods which will encourage weight gain or promote poor health is required reading on every nutrition label. The problem is many people are unable to decode the gibberish and misleading terms used to disguise the worst food ingredients. It seems as though there should be a special encyclopedia to help the consumer avoid the most dangerous health degrading components of their favorite processed food staples.

Finding the Proper Tools to Assist Weight Loss

Of course, the best rule of thumb would be to eat food in their natural form, easily avoiding all the deadly sugar and processed carbs and chemicals hiding in most foods. Foods which will help you drop weight and promote health don’t have an ingredient list or use names which are difficult to pronounce. The reality is that foods manufactured in a food laboratory are a part of our diet, and we need to become savvy about what is in the foods we eat to preserve health and lose weight.

The results of a study published in the Journal of Consumer Affairs, found that people who want to lose weight are much more likely to read nutrition labels, and note that this may have an even larger impact on weight loss than regular exercise. There is still much confusion about serving size, sugar and carbohydrate content and ingredient listing for many who try to decipher the typical nutrition label. Understanding the buzz words to watch for will help you to drop weight and naturally promote health.

Tip 1: Watch Calories per Serving

Food manufacturers use very subtle deception to make you think their food is lower in calories at a quick glance. They post unrealistic serving sizes to make the calories appear less, with the knowledge that most people will eat much more than the paltry serving size listed.

Look carefully when purchasing at the store and be certain you understand that often the calories listed in bold are most likely half of what you will end up eating. Once you realize how quickly most processed foods add on the calories, you’ll want to substitute fruit, vegetables, or a reduced calorie option to hit your daily target.

Tip 2: Trans Fat, Saturated Fat and Cholesterol

The fat category creates much confusion for many consumers. We have been so conditioned by pharmaceutical ads to avoid cholesterol that we end up choosing high carb, low fat foods which ruin health. Saturated fats and cholesterol from foods are not the problem, and do not contribute to poor health or excess weight as long as they are eaten uncooked and accounted for as part of your daily caloric goal. Trans fats should be avoided entirely, and be sure to watch for hydrogenated fats on the label. There is no safe level of these deadly fats which increase your risk of heart disease by 25%.

Tip 3: Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup and Corn Sugar

Many people with an interest in their health are avoiding added sugar and high fructose corn syrup when they read nutritional labels, understanding that these additives cause metabolic imbalance and lead to weight gain. Manufacturers know this and now want to be able to call high fructose corn syrup simply corn sugar on nutritional labels. This is yet another example of the deceitful marketing tactics which are permitted to continue, making it difficult to avoid dangerous chemicals in our food supply.

Reading nutritional labels is becoming an important tool used my many weight and health conscious consumers. Look at every label before you purchase, with a watchful eye for serving size, trans fats and high fructose corn syrup and learn the variety of names these ingredients lurk behind. By eliminating poor food choices, you’ll be able to reach your weight loss target quicker and avoid the health pitfalls of eating a diet high in artificial chemicals.

Things to Check If You Find Incomplete Nutritional Labels on Products

If you go out to any supermarket or even an ordinary store, you would find that any packaged food that you buy, has nutritional labels printed on the packs. These labels are extremely beneficial to make people aware of what the food exactly consists of. However, in many cases, you would notice that some of these packed food do not have proper description on them regarding their nutritional values. In such cases, most of the experts are of the opinion that better would be to opt for some other product. In reality very few people do so. In fact, they seldom even look at these descriptions when they are out to buy such food items.

Most of the people, who are health conscious, have pointed out that it is always a good thing to buy such packaged food, which has gone through proper analysis. Nutrition, in its proper level, is something which everybody should follow, if they are serious about staying fit for the rest of their lives. Most of the experts have also mentioned a few things to check, in case you find that the nutritional labels [] in the products, you are planning to buy, are incomplete or not clear. Some of these points are:

* Check the list of ingredients: Most of the times, you would notice that nutritional labels are missing from some of the food items in the market. The best thing to do in such cases is to check for the list of ingredients. This would give you some idea about the fat, salt, and even sugar content. Normally you would find that these ingredients are mention in a descending order depending on their weight. The first would be the one which would have the greatest amount in the food item.

* Read the nutritional names properly: Most of the experts have said that sugar, salt, and even fat are often printed under different names. For example, sugar may be at times printed as sucrose, lactose, and even glucose. So better would be to read these names properly.

These are some of the things to check when you find that the nutritional labels [] in the food items, you are planning to buy, are incomplete or not clear to understand. It is always better to stay fit, rather than having to visit the doctor every now and then. Who would like the idea of staying unhealthy and sick for most of their lives?

Weight Loss Strategies: Read Nutrition Labels

Ignorance may be bliss but it can sabotage a weight loss plan. To lose and keep off weight you will need to watch what you eat. This means learning to read nutrition labels.

Nutrition Labels.

Nutrition labels provide us with important information about serving sizes, calories, and ingredients. The top half of the label contains product specific information on the number of serving, calories and nutrient information.

Serving Size and Servings Per Container.

Always check the number of servings. This is a common oversight. You may grab a beverage glancing quickly at the calories. However you might be surprised to find out that the beverage is three servings and not one. Foods that appear low in calories may actually be much more than you want to consume.


Depending on your daily calorie target and the number of meals or snacks you decide to eat, your meals should be between 200 and 400 calories and your snacks between 100 and 200 calories.

Total Fat.

Below the calories you will find information for Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium. These nutrients are listed first because they are the ones that you should limit.

Fat Breakdown.

Fat information will be broken down into Saturated, Trans Fat and for some foods you will also have Polyunsaturated and Monounsaturated fats. Saturated and Trans Fats are the artery clogging fats. The combined “bad” fats should be limited to 10% of total calories. Trans Fat is man made and is increasingly being eliminated from foods.

Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are “good fats” and should be consumed as part of a healthy well balanced diet.

Total Carbohydrate.

Carbohydrates will be broken down into total, fiber and sugar. You want to get enough healthy carbohydrates such as those from whole grains, fruits, vegetables and beans. Limit foods that have sugar listed in the first few ingredients, whether or not you are attempting to lose weight.


Proteins are an important component of your healthy weight loss plan. I recommend that you eat meals that are at least 20% protein.

Ingredients List.

Finally, always look at the ingredients list. If you see any of the ingredients listed below in the first four ingredients, consider a better product.

  • Trans fats
  • Partially hydrogenated oils
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Other syrups
  • Sugar
  • Fructose
  • Refined whole grains
  • Enriched whole grains

Becoming conscious of what you are putting into your body will put you on the road to a healthier lifestyle. Read labels before you buy and compare different brands. You can and will find distinct differences among brands.

Becoming a label detective requires just a little effort but the return on your time has a big payoff in better health and smaller clothing sizes.

Nutrition Labelling – It’s the Amount That Counts

Food labels are valuable sources of information. A Nutrition Facts table is found on almost all food labels and it can tell you a lot about the food you buy. Reading food labels can help you make informed food choices, but there are important tips to keep in mind.
The nutrient information in the Nutrition Facts is always based on a specific ‘amount’ of food measured in household units – such as a cup of milk, or a slice of bread – followed by the metric measurement (g, mL). The amount reflects the quantity people usually eat at one sitting. The key however, is comparing the amount in the Nutrition Facts to the amount you actually eat. -Why? A favourite bowl you use at breakfast might hold anywhere from a cup to a 2 cup amount of cereal. Having 2 cups of a particular cereal may be five times the amount specified in the Nutrition Facts. If the cereal box label indicates a cup amount is 120 Calories, this means that, instead of consuming 120 Calories, you have just consumed a 600 Calorie bowl of cereal.
More tips for using the Nutrition Facts:
Remember – the amount of food in the Nutrition Facts is not a recommended serving. Canada’s Food Guide recommends the amount and type of food needed for different age and gender groups, as well as different stages of life.
Nutrition Facts on different brands of the same type of food may be based on different amounts of food. For example, one brand of crackers may have nutrition information based on eight crackers, while another brand’s is based on only four crackers. So check the metric amount under the Nutrition Facts when comparing products.
Not all foods are sold ‘ready to eat’. Foods that require preparation, such as cake mix baked with an egg, or breakfast cereal served with milk, will have one column in Nutrition Facts providing nutrient values for the food as sold, while another column will provide nutrient values for the food “as prepared,” with the extra egg or milk, for example.

Want to Stay Slim? Read the Fine Print on Nutrition Labels!

Struggling with the ever expanding waistline? Try having a closer look at the nutrition lables from now on.

Nutrition labels printed on the back of food packaging tell a lot about what is inside, claim researchers at University of Santiago de Compostela in Spain.

According to experts, individuals, especially women, who go through food labels closely are more likely to stay slim than those who do not.

On an average, women who read the labels in detail tend to have a lower body mass index compared to those who choose to skip this vital information.

This essentially means a shift of close to four kgs in a woman (74kg weight and 1.62m height). Probably the consciousness that sets in after reading the label explains the result.

Mar­a Loureiro who led the study says,”Obesity is one of the most serious health problems in modern day USA. The number of overweight or obese adults has risen over the years. From 2009 to 2010, more than a third (nearly 37%) of the adult population in this country were obese and in children and adolescents this figure rises to 17%.”

Data analysis
researchers analyzed data from the annual National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Over 25,000 people answered questions pertaining to their eating and shopping habits.

Mar­a Loureiro said, “First we analysed which was the profile of those who read the nutritional label when purchasing foods, and then we moved on to the relationship with their weight.”

The analysis revealed urban dwellers were the most particular about reading food labels. Also those armed with high school and college educations scanned nutritional labels.

Also some disparity was perceived in terms of gender. While 74 percent women read information on food packets only 58 per cent men browsed through nutritional details.

Noted researchers Dan J. Graham, Ph.D. and Robert W. Jeffrey, Ph.D., of the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, maintain “The results of this study suggest that consumers have a finite attention span for Nutrition Facts labels: although most consumers did view labels, very few consumers viewed every component on any label.€

On being asked about his opinion on the matter, Dawn Jackson Blatner, R.D., author of “The Flexitarian Diet,” quips “There really is so much information on a food label that it can get overwhelming. Yes, you can look at everything, but soon one thing starts canceling out the next.”

Next time you head for the store to purchase anything, keep an eye on the fine print of the labels. You might save yourself from a few extra calories.

The study was published in the journal Agricultural Economics.