Anyone looking to create a balanced, healthy diet for weight loss, weight maintenance, or simple health needs to know how to properly read a food label. Food labels are there for a reason, and too many people ignore them when they’re making their choices at the supermarket. The problem is, a lot of the time people aren’t sure what they’re supposed to be looking for, especially when ingredient names start getting too long to even pronounce.
Luckily there are a few quick tricks you can learn to make this whole process a little easier. One of my favorite tips is this:
Keep an eye out for ingredients that end with the letters “o-s-e.”
You see, spotting sugar on food labels isn’t quite as easy as it once was. Food manufacturers started noticing that consumers were becoming more discerning than those of even 10 years ago, so they starting doing everything they could to disguise sugar on their lists of ingredients.
So what do they call “sugar” instead?
The worst of the worst is high-fructose corn syrup. Seeing a pattern?
All of the above -ose words are code words for sugar. If you see them listed on the label, especially in the first 3 or 4 ingredients, guaranteed that product is probably LOADED with sugar. And you should be avoiding it. If a product contains any high-fructose corn syrup, you should just put it back and walk away. The invention of high fructose corn syrup is one of the leading causes of obesity today.
Understanding food labels can seem tricky at first, but the more you do it, the more you’ll begin recognizing ingredients, average percentages, and more, so you can spot when something is particularly high or low in a nutritional factor. In time, you’ll begin realizing just how much you were overlooking before, and you’ll be glad you’re able to make smarter choices.
For more help on reading labels, the FDA actually has some great info to help build your label-reading skills.