Aiming for a healthy diet isn’t just about cutting down on calories or limiting your food intake. A very essential step towards a healthy diet and lifestyle also includes paying attention to the food labels before you pick up anything from the grocery store.
It is important to know where your food comes from and what it contains. The labels on packaged foods give you all the information on nutrition contents that the foods have, which also makes it easier for you to compare between different brands before you buy them.
Additionally, there are some really amazing benefits of reading food labels:
Food labels provide information that’s vital for your diet
The two key things that food labels offer in terms of information include ingredients as well as the nutrition content. The latter gives well-defined segregation of what amounts of calories, total fats, saturated fats, carbohydrates, proteins, and vitamins the food contains. This information is extremely crucial when you’re planning to make some dietary changes with some additions and restrictions to your daily diet. It also helps you reject certain food items if you have an intolerance or allergy towards certain ingredients, such as dairy, nuts, etc.
It helps you plan your diet well if you are suffering from chronic conditions
With increasing cases of hypertension, diabetes, and other cardiovascular diseases, it’s imperative to cut back on your salt and sugar intake. Reading labels while buying packaged foods helps you effortlessly cut back on these components without fail so that your health never has to suffer. Keep a watch on the ‘total carbs’ content as carbohydrates too ultimately turn into sugar during the digestion process.
It can help you identify ‘sugar’ content
Consuming too much sugar is one of the biggest contributors to heart disease and other chronic disorders. Loaded with calories, a high-sugar diet is fundamentally responsible for increasing your blood sugar and triglycerides, which meddles with your health in more ways than you can imagine. When you know how to read food labels properly, you can identify sugar content hidden in the ingredients very well. For instance, if you find a label stating ‘high fructose corn syrup’ as one of the ingredients, you should know it is just another name for sugar. Hence, not just reading food labels but also knowing what certain ingredients truly mean, is very important for your health.
It helps you understand the calories per serving well
When you read food labels and pay attention to the ‘serving size’ mentioned, you can keep a tab on how many servings you are actually consuming. In case you’re consuming three servings of a particular food item, it means you’re consuming triple the amount of calories mentioned for a single serving. This can be detrimental to your health. Additionally, you should also keep in touch with a clinical dietitian in case you suffer from any chronic condition for which dietary and lifestyle changes are mandatory.
It helps you keep a tab on bad fats
If you read your food labels well, you will be able to identify foods that contain higher amounts of trans fats and saturated fats. When choosing healthy options, go for foods that contain lower amounts of saturated fats. Ignore foods that contain ‘partially hydrogenated fats’ since they are high on trans fats as well.
Here are the nutrient compositions of some common foods that we buy:
Now that you know some of the key reasons you should be reading labels on packaged foods before adding them to your cart, make sure you do that on your next visit to the grocery store.