Five Nutrition Label Red Flags

Americans today eat more and weigh more than they did fifty years ago. Most people eat several hundred more calories daily than they did in the 1950’s. Most of these extra calories come from grains, added sugars and fats. The result? About a third of all United States citizens weigh at least thirty more pounds than they should. As we get closer to launching our new concept True Health Vending, we have been paying careful attention to how misleading Nutrition Labels can be. One way to tighten your belt buckle a couple of notches is to pay more attention to the Nutrition Facts label on the foods that you eat. Here are five red flags to watch for.

  1. More Than 400 Calories

Start at the top of the label. That is where you find not only the calories per serving but also the amount of servings themselves. Age, sex and gender all make a difference in how many calories we each need daily. However 2,000 calories is often used as a benchmark for most of us. Based on that number 400 is high for one food. It is especially high if there are more than one serving of that food in the container.

2. Total Fat Higher Than 20%

Total fats are just next to the calories on our labels and “Percent Daily Value” is just next to it. Total fat more than 20% is high, especially high if you have heart problems or a family history of heart disease. There are some exceptions as not all fats, such as olive oil, are bad for your heart but generally it is a good rule of thumb to try and stay under 20%

3. Any trans fat

The easiest Red Flag of all. We should not eat any trans fat. This is because it is made by adding hydrogen to vegetable oil. Trans fats are common in snack foods and prepared baked goods. They are a double negative for your heart as they lower good cholesterol and raise bad cholesterol. The FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) have given food makers a 2018 deadline to stop adding trans fats to processed foods. Until than, if you see “trans fat” or “hydrogenated vegetable oil” anywhere on the label, put the food back!

4. No Fiber

Eating foods that have very little or no fiber just isn’t good for you, especially if you have diabetes or heart disease. A food is high in fiber if it contains more than 5 grams per serving. Fiber is best found in fruits and vegetables

5. Added Sugar

Added sugar is the biggest reason why so many of us are overweight. You can check this important nutrition fact right underneath Total Sugars on a label. However you may have to dig deeper into the ingredient list as high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, maltose, dextrose and sucrose are all ingredients that add Sugar.

Nutritional labels can be very misleading and confusing. Please be sure to do your due diligence and consult all labels.