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Reading Nutrition Labels to Assist Weight Loss

September 16, 2010

(Article first published as Reading Nutrition Labels Assists Weight Loss, Improves Health on Technorati.)

The information you need to avoid foods which will encourage weight gain or promote poor health is required reading on every nutrition label. The problem is many people are unable to decode the gibberish and misleading terms used to disguise the worst food ingredients. It seems as though there should be a special encyclopedia to help the consumer avoid the most dangerous health degrading components of their favorite processed food staples.

Finding the Proper Tools to Assist Weight Loss
Of course, the best rule of thumb would be to eat food in their natural form, easily avoiding all the deadly sugar and processed carbs and chemicals hiding in most foods. Foods which will help you drop weight and promote health don’t have an ingredient list or use names which are difficult to pronounce. The reality is that foods manufactured in a food laboratory are a part of our diet, and we need to become savvy about what is in the foods we eat to preserve health and lose weight.
The results of a study published in the Journal of Consumer Affairs, found that people who want to lose weight are much more likely to read nutrition labels, and note that this may have an even larger impact on weight loss than regular exercise. There is still much confusion about serving size, sugar and carbohydrate content and ingredient listing for many who try to decipher the typical nutrition label. Understanding the buzz words to watch for will help you to drop weight and naturally promote health.
Tip 1: Watch Calories per Serving

Food manufacturers use very subtle deception to make you think their food is lower in calories at a quick glance. They post unrealistic serving sizes to make the calories appear less, with the knowledge that most people will eat much more than the paltry serving size listed.

Look carefully when purchasing at the store and be certain you understand that often the calories listed in bold are most likely half of what you will end up eating. Once you realize how quickly most processed foods add on the calories, you’ll want to substitute fruit, vegetables, or a reduced calorie option to hit your daily target.
Tip 2: Trans Fat, Saturated Fat and Cholesterol
The fat category creates much confusion for many consumers. We have been so conditioned by pharmaceutical ads to avoid cholesterol that we end up choosing high carb, low fat foods which ruin health. Saturated fats and cholesterol from foods are not the problem, and do not contribute to poor health or excess weight as long as they are eaten uncooked and accounted for as part of your daily caloric goal. Trans fats should be avoided entirely, and be sure to watch for hydrogenated fats on the label. There is no safe level of these deadly fats which increase your risk of heart disease by 25%.
Tip 3: Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup and Corn Sugar

Many people with an interest in their health are avoiding added sugar and high fructose corn syrup when they read nutritional labels, understanding that these additives cause metabolic imbalance and lead to weight gain. Manufacturers know this and now want to be able to call high fructose corn syrup simply corn sugar on nutritional labels. This is yet another example of the deceitful marketing tactics which are permitted to continue, making it difficult to avoid dangerous chemicals in our food supply.

Reading nutritional labels is becoming an important tool used my many weight and health conscious consumers. Look at every label before you purchase, with a watchful eye for serving size, trans fats and high fructose corn syrup and learn the variety of names these ingredients lurk behind. By eliminating poor food choices, you’ll be able to reach your weight loss target quicker and avoid the health pitfalls of eating a diet high in artificial chemicals.
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