as an ingredient. How so? There are many different forms
of sugar. Sugar can be listed as sugar, fructose, sucrose,
glucose or high-fructose corn syrup.
Fat. Fat is listed as “total fat” and then
broken down into saturated (artery-clogging
fat), unsaturated (healthy fat) and trans
fat (fat that has been artificially altered to
increase the shelf life). Unsaturated fats are often broken
down further into monounsaturated or polyunsaturated
fats. These fats lower your cholesterol levels and risk
of heart disease.
Hidden ingredients. There is no FDA
requirement to list chemical contaminants,
heavy metals, bisphenol-A, PCBs or other
toxic substances found in food. As a result,
ingredients you need to know about don’t appear on
the ingredient list. The manufacturer only lists what it
wants you to believe is in the food.
Zero. The giant food companies have figured
out how to manipulate the serving size of
foods in order to make it appear that their
products are free of harmful ingredients
like trans fatty acids. The FDA created an easy-to use
loophole for reporting trans fatty acids on the label.
Any food containing 0.5 grams or less per serving is
allowed to claim zero trans fats on the label. Thus, an
unscrupulous manufacturer can just decrease the serving
size until his food is legal.
Cholesterol. Cholesterol is a type of fat that
comes only from animal products. Too much
of it increases your risk of heart disease, so
keep it under 300 milligrams a day.
Sodium. Sodium is salt. Given that
most food companies want their foods
to have as long a shelf life as possible
to save money, they add high amounts of salt to preserve
the food. High salt intake leads to diseases such as high
blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. It is in your
best interest to understand how much salt your food has
in it and try to stay below the recommended 2400mg of
sodium per day. ❏
Nutrition labels. While strolling down
the aisles of the grocery store, reading your
shopping list and throwing items in the
shopping cart as you go, have you ever
wondered what is in the food you’re buying? It is easy
to be distracted by the pretty photos on the box. Who
doesn’t love happy cows grazing on beautiful pastures in
California? Do you think that is real? It’s not! The front
of the box isn’t as important as the nutrition label on the
back of the box. There are ingredients back there that
you can’t pronounce, and some even have numbers in
them, such as polysorbate 80, that make you think there
might have been 79 other polysorbates before this one.
Nutrition facts. You might be surprised
to learn that the Nutrition Fact label is not
always factual. Federal law allows a very
lax margin of error—up to 20 percent for
the stated value versus actual value of nutrients. That
means a 100-calorie snack can contain up to 120 calories
and still not be violating Food and Drug Administration
Ingredients. When you are reading down
the list of ingredients, a general rule of
thumb is to go with a food that has a
short list of ingredients and words that
you can pronounce. The ingredients are listed in order
of predominance, with the ingredients used in the
greatest amount first, followed in descending order by
those in smaller amounts.
Serving size. This is something many
people overlook. If you just read the calorie
count, you might think that you can eat a
box of crackers and only ingest 240 calories.
Wrong! That box of crackers might be divided into six
servings. The label says it is 240 calories per serving,
which means that box has 1440 calories. Many items,
even bit-size items, count as more than one serving.
Sugar. On average, an American consumes
4 pounds of sugar every 20 days. That is 22
teaspoons a day. Even weirder, some foods
that contain sugar do not have sugar listed
YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT