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How to read a food label

By: Spencer
Spencer's picture

Reading the back of a food label can be a bit overwhelming with difficult-to-pronounce ingredients, percentages, serving sizes and daily values to decipher. Then there’s all the marketing claims on the package.


Crack the food label code and make healthy choices:


  • Read every label, every time. Double-check the label of every item before you put it in your cart. This is especially important for individuals with food allergies. Manufacturers may change ingredients based on what’s available or the plant where the food was processed.

  • Ignore marketing claims. That big sticker on the front of your favorite snack claiming that it’s low-fat doesn’t make it a healthy option. Foods that are low in fat may be high in sugar or sodium to help make up for the taste. Focus on the Nutrition Facts and ingredients on the back and side panels of packaging for the most reliable information.

  • Check the ingredients list. Manufacturers are required to list ingredients based on how much is in the item. That means if your snack has a lot of sugar, you’ll see sugar – or one of its 61 names – listed in one of the top spots.

  • Pay attention to serving size. Make sure you’re eating the recommended serving size and know exactly what that is for each food.

  • Watch for added sugar. Manufacturers are now required to put how much added sugar is in a product, which can help consumers make healthier choices.


Need more healthy eating advice or recipes? Visit Adventist HealthCare’s blog for tasty, healthy recipes and tips to improve your diet.

Each Wednesday at 7:40 am, Jerry & Blanca speak with local health professional, Rose Melendez, who offers helpful tips for your health and well-being, brought to you by our friends at Adventist HealthCare.

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