Think those gluten free, fat free rice crackers are a healthy choice? Ever looked at the ingredients? All food labels have nutrition information and ingredients printed on them. Some can be hard to decipher and some you just wouldn’t think to read because they advertise the product as being healthy. Here are my top 5 tips to help you when reading food labels and making the best choice for your health.
Don’t be fooled by product claims
The product packet might say it is gluten-free, fat free and is low in calories but don’t let this trick you. Common products that make these claims are rice crackers which are often flavoured using hydrolized oils, sugar and chemical flavour enhancers so always have a look at what is in the ingredients list.
If you don’t recognise it, don’t eat it
When reading the ingredient list, look out for words that you don’t recognise and sound as though they belong in a chemistry lab rather than from the earth!
Avoid Food Chemicals
627, 631, 307, 341…..avoid them all! All food chemicals are characterised by a number and most will start with the letter ‘E’ which just means they are approved in Europe. An interesting fact for you is that some food chemicals get approved in one country and then banned in another due to different regulations and tests, so be careful!
Use the nutrition table
When looking at the nutrition table to compare products use the 100g column. The product with the most sugar, and trans-fat can go back on the shelf.
The first ingredient on the list tells you a lot
The ingredients list is in order of the weight used, from the highest to the lowest. I recently looked at a product labelled as “quinoa and flaxseed porridge”. The first ingredient was wheat bran, next whole wheat flour then finally followed by quinoa and flaxseed! Also if sugar is the first ingredient in a product then you know you are practically eating just sugar.