Become an “eat clean” label reader
Eat clean tip #29:
Watch of for the words “sugar free”. Even if there is no sugar in the product, it can still be loaded with unwanted unhealthy fat, carbohydrates and artificial sugars. You always have to read the ingredient list to find out more.
Eat clean action step: Take a few extra minutes in the grocery store and train yourself to read and understand food labels. Very quickly it becomes second nature.
As a general rule, if you can’t say it – you should not eat it! Getting to know your food labels is an important part of an eat clean diet. When looking at your ingredient list, the order is listed from most to least. In other words, if sugar is the first word on the ingredient list –the product contains more sugar than any other ingredient. Try to only select food items that list 5-6 ingredients or less.
Serving sizes are also listed on the ingredient list and are an important measurement to look at. Technically a food manufacturer is suppose to list a typical serving size however, some serving sizes are quite small (and misleading) leading the average person to eat more.
Other label reading tips include:
- Check the amount of calories per serving. Although calories are only part of the picture –they can help you to ballpark serving sizes. On average – women should consume 1800-2200 calories per day and men can consume 2200-2500 calories per day. If you chose a food item with 800 calories or more per serving, that is approximately 1/3 of your calories for the day!
- Avoid foods that contain trans fats. If a product list less than 1 gram of trans fats per serving, it can be listed as containing zero trans fats.
- Check sodium levels. If over the age 40, ideally sodium should be below 1500 mg per day.
- Check the amount of sugar in a processed food. Keep in mind 4 grams of sugar = 1 teaspoon. In other words, if a food product contains 20 grams of sugar – that is 5 teaspoons of added sugar!
- Watch out for foods that contain artificial sugars, food coloring or MSG. These can all be called by a variety of names but will be listed in the ingredient list. If there is a name on an ingredient list you do not understand – feel free to google it to learn more before you put it in your body.
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