Here is a read on how to correctly read and decode the food labels.

Reading and understanding food labels can be a very tricky job. People may often pick unhealthy food products by mistake that have been marketed as healthy. Read on to know how to read the food labels correctly and not get misled by smart advertising.

Don’t get fooled by the food claims

To start with, you must completely ignore the claims mentioned on the front of the packaging as all those front labels are there to lure you into picking up the food product. There are studies which support the fact that front labels fool people into believing that the product is healthier.

Read the ingredients list

The ingredients list mentioned on the food label lists the ingredients by quantity, which means the first ingredient is the one that is used in most quantity by the manufacturer in that particular product than the one which mentioned last. Usually, the first three ingredients are the ones which are used in the largest quantity and in case they are unhealthy then it is better not to pick that food item. Ideally, the first three ingredients should be whole foods and not refined grains, any kind of sugar, or hydrogenated oil.

Check the serving size

The distribution of calories and other nutrients mentioned on the food label are often according to single serving size, that is frequently way smaller in portion than that of the people usually consume in one go. For example, some food labels may distribute the nutrition information based on the unreal serving portions as well, such as half a can of soda, half a chocolate bar, or a single cookie. This way manufacturers try to deceive the consumer into thinking that the food they are consuming has fewer calories and sugars than expected.

Look out for the misleading claims

Most manufacturers use words such as light (this means the product is processed to lower its calorie and fat content), multigrain (this product may contain more than one type of grain and most likely refined grain), natural (this means that the manufacturer at one point worked with a natural food source), organic (manufacturers may sell even sugars by labeling them as organic sugar), no added sugar (it may contain ingredients that are naturally high in sugar or the manufacturer may have used unhealthy sugar substitutes), low-calorie (you must check that if this low calorie product has fewer calories than the ones present in the original product by the same brand), low fat (absence of fat may have been compensated by adding more sugar), low carb (it may contain various processed foods and may also be high in fat content), prepared with whole grains (check the quantity of whole grains used in the product), enriched or fortified (not all fortified food products are healthy), gluten free (the product may still be highly processed and prepared using fats and sugars), fruit flavored (mostly chemicals are used to make the product taste like fruit), and zero trans fat (it means that less than 0.5g of trans fats are present per serving of the product).

Giving sugar different names

Food manufacturers may veil sugar with different names to mislead the consumer into buying the product. So, be watchful of the terms such as corn sweetener, maltose, malt syrup, molasses, beet sugar, fructose, high-fructose corn syrup etc.