Remember to Read Those Ingredient Labels! (It’s Vital for Weight Loss)

Reading food labels and understanding what you’re really eating is a solid first step when finding the right way to lose weight. It’s also a big part of weight maintenance. Unfortunately, we often rely on what the ingredient labels “seem to be saying” instead of what the actual truth is. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. We’ve all been duped a time or two with foods we thought were healthy, only later to discover we were mistaken.

Food manufacturers spend millions of dollars on marketing campaigns to design their ads and product packaging to appeal to the largest consumer audience possible. Unfortunately, that often involves package designs and wording that looks and sounds much healthier than it actually is. Organic, clean looking designs and the words “reduced fat” and “natural” are showing up more and more, but what do they really mean?
Here’s a quick education:

Food Label Accuracy

Over 80 percent of Americans claim to check the labels of their food; they look for the ‘important’ facts, like calories, sugar, fat, and salt. Did you know these ‘facts’ are actually only estimates? In truth, the FDA doesn’t regulate the accuracy of the labels. So what happens? The food manufacturers are listing a “best case scenario” on the ingredient label. Example: Since consumers want more nutritional value, the labels will always list the highest possible amount for vitamin and mineral content. For calories and salt content, the opposite is true.

According to the FDA, the actual amount could be 20 percent lower or higher. This is significant, especially if you’re trying to find a way to lose weight and don’t know you’re consuming more sugar or fat than you should be.

Terms on Food Packaging Labels

When reading ingredient labels, you’d think that terms like “reduced calorie” and “natural” meant the product was good for you, right? Well, that’s what the food manufacturer wants you to think anyway. The truth is, many terms are unregulated or vague. Product labels use them to imply things to uneducated consumers. Thankfully, you’re becoming educated right now. Here are some common terms that are misused:

Instead of looking at the front of the package or putting all of your stock into the nutritional ‘facts,’ look at the ingredient list instead. Avoiding certain additives and ingredients will help you be successful in your weight loss journey and teach you how to lose body fat. Here’s some important things to avoid:

Searching for a great way to lose weight? Start by reading labels and avoid products with ingredients that will hinder your weight loss goals. Get more solid information and support by joining us for our Lunch & Learn session or give us a call and get started on the best (and last) weight loss journey of your life!