Learning to read food labels will be an important part of a healthier lifestyle or weight loss plan. But even if you’re starting to feel comfortable with interpreting this information, we have found that many people are still making at least one of these six common mistakes.
Eating too many foods with labels. If you’re constantly reading food labels, this might not be a sign of a healthy diet. That’s because you should be focusing mostly on foods that don’t have a label in the first place! Fill up on fresh produce and sources of lean protein, and avoid foods that come in a box or bag.
Misunderstanding portion sizes. You glance at the calorie content of a favorite snack, notice that it’s acceptably low, and include that item on your daily eating plan. But did you check the serving size? A food that contains 100 calories per half-cup serving will quickly become a 400-calorie snack if you eat two cups of it!
Relying on percentages. Keep in mind that “percent daily values” are based upon a 2,000-calorie diet. So you might think you’re getting a certain percentage of your recommended daily value with regard to a particular nutrient, but that’s not actually the case if you aren’t actually eating 2,000 calories per day. Track nutrients like protein and fiber by the gram instead.
Falling for marketing gimmicks. Unfortunately, some words like “natural” or “sugar free” don’t actually mean what you think. Resist viewing a food as “healthy” just because the packaging boasts trendy buzzwords.
Look out for added sugars. Words like fructose, dextrose, and more are just synonyms for added sugars. When you see these in the ingredients list, watch out. You’re probably inching closer to your daily allotment of sugar (which should be low for a weight loss diet).
Focusing on fat. Due to the word itself, we think of “fat” as a “bad” nutrient. In truth, we need some fats in our diets, particularly the unsaturated kind. So instead of focusing too much on grams of fats in your foods, take a look at the type of fat you’re eating. Avoid saturated, and go for unsaturated. But yes, do avoid going over your recommended daily allotment of this macro nutrient.
As for those daily allotments of nutrients, make an appointment with us to discuss your weight loss plan. We can help you understand what you should be eating, and how much, so that you can accomplish your health objectives or weight goals.