Even though labeling regulations are very strict, trying to decipher food labels can be a confusing process. Some companies don’t accurately test their products while others purposefully use misleading words and statistics. Here are a few tips and tricks that will help you figure out exactly what is inside your favorite foods.
Ignore Everything Except for the Label
Many manufacturers use buzzwords to make their products sound healthier, but very few of those phrases are regulated. A company can make almost any claim as long as they keep their wording vague and don’t put those phrases directly on the food labels. Only the labels themselves are regulated and tested, and that is why all other claims should be completely ignored or taken with a grain of salt.
Always Check the Serving Size
Using unusual serving sizes is another way that food manufacturers trick consumers. A manufacturer might claim that the suggested serving size is extremely small so that the daily values seem much more reasonable. Before looking at the daily values, you should make sure that the serving size is sensible. A protein bar might seem like a healthy option until you realize that a single package has multiple servings.
Not All Labels Are Accurate
It is an unfortunate fact that many food products aren’t accurately tested, and those products are going to have inaccurate labels. All of the food products that you bring home should be tested by reputable nutritional profiling companies and have proper labels on them or else you won’t know exactly what is going inside your body. If you aren’t sure which company has tested a certain product, then you should contact the manufacturer and ask them for that information. Most major manufacturers have customer service experts who will be happy to share that information with you. Some might even have that information available to you on their website.
Don’t Fixate on Calories
Keeping an eye on your caloric intake is extremely important, but you also need to track your intake of macronutrients and micronutrients. Foods that are filled with amino acids and healthy fats generally have more calories, but they are also going to keep you full for longer. You also want to make sure that your favorite snacks and dishes are as nutrient-dense as possible. A nutritional deficiency could bring your metabolism to a grinding halt and make it nearly impossible to digest certain vitamins and minerals.
Knowing how to properly read food labels is an invaluable skill that everyone should learn at some point. The food industry is more complicated than ever, and you want to be absolutely sure that you know exactly what you are consuming every day.