Nutritional information seems to be everywhere nowadays. The secret to feeding your family and yourself a healthy diet consisting of healthier food is to read the labels. The United States Food & Drug Administration has laid out some strict rules for nutritional labeling of all food products.
The nutrition label will tell you all you need to know in order to choose real health foods. But with the new FDA guidelines, mandating more detailed information on the labels of every product you purchase, it could quickly become a case of overload very soon.
To start with, here are some facts (and myths) about some of the more common, “healthy” snack food you come across every day:
Yogurt: This can be either very good or very bad for you, depending on many factors. A real yogurt should have two ingredients: milk (whole, skim or low fat) and live yogurt culture. That is healthy food consisting of calcium, vitamin D, vitamin A and protein.
However, a lot of the yogurts at the grocery store are loaded with various kinds of hidden sugars. Flavours such as lime pie, kiwi-raspberry, strawberry-banana, etc., usually come with heavy doses of sugar which are added in order to generate that particular flavour. Quite often, the actual “fruit” is of poor quality and was too damaged or over-ripe to sell as a raw produce.
The solution to this is to buy plain, fat-free, sugarless yogurt, and then add your own nuts, berries or fresh fruits to it. This way you’ll have complete control over how healthy you would like your yogurt to be.
Granola bars: The first granola bars were the same as normal granola except for the shape. Instead of a loose, breakfast cereal-like consistency, granola bars were pressed into a bar shape and baked in that shape. These granola bars often tend to contain dried fruit, as normal granola.
Granola bars have since then evolved into expensive candy bars which contain chocolate chips and gooey caramel. The whole wheat flour is bleached and denuded of its flavorful kernels.
To conclude, here are some things to bear in mind when reading nutrition labels for health food:
* In the ingredients area of the nutrition label, ingredients are listed in order of amount. The ingredient that is listed first is the main ingredient, followed by the next largest amount, etc.
* The nutritional facts label must list each of the required nutrients even if the food provides 0% of your recommended daily value.
* The nutritional facts label must list what portion of the food’s calories are derived from fat, sugar, protein and carbohydrates. It should also break down the fat into saturated and unsaturated fat.
John Rifkind is a contributing editor at FitnessHealthArticles.com. This article may be reproduced provided that its complete content, links and author byline are kept intact and unchanged. No additional links permitted. Hyperlinks and/or URLs must remain both human clickable and search engine spiderable.