label reading

Always Read the Nutrition Label

By Dr. Miranda Graham | The Vegan MD

The healthiest food you can get will always be from the produce section at your local grocery store or farmer’s market. However, in the era of high-stress jobs and familial responsibilities that don’t always leave time to make everything yourself from scratch, learning how to properly read food labels to make sure that you are making the best choices out of what is available to you is a must. 

Label.ology: General Tips for Reading Labels

How to Read a Label
10 Tips

1. Ingredients are listed in order of their proportion in the product. So for me, the first three ingredients are the most important. They’re what make up the majority of the product you’re eating.

2. If the ingredient panel contains long words you don’t recognize, do some research and discover what the ingredient is (or does) before considering whether or not to put it in or on your body.

Label.ology: Reading and Understanding Vitamins and Minerals

How to Read a Label
Lesson 4

The next part of the label reveals the vitamin and mineral content of the food item you are considering. The FDA requires listings on calcium, iron, and vitamins A and C, but not others. Manufacturers often add other listings of percentages, like folic acid, potassium or magnesium if the product contains significant amounts of the nutrients in question, knowing they are important to consumers.

Label.ology: Reading and Understanding Ingredients

How to Read a Label
Lesson 3

Let’s talk ingredients. We see the lists on packages and sometimes they read like Russian novels. How could all those substances be in one food and be good for us? Of course you know I am going to say the fewer ingredients the better, but what about the ingredients themselves? How do we know what’s what?

Label.ology: Reading and Understanding Calories, Fat, Protein, Sodium…

How to Read a Label
Lesson 2

The next part of the label includes information concerning fat content and type, amount and type of carbohydrates, protein, sodium, fiber, and sugar. It’s important to note that the FDA now requires the amount of trans fats in products be listed, which is great news. They will be listed with fats and cholesterol amounts.

Label.ology: How to Read a Label

I know--duh, right? Don’t you just pick up the package, turn it over, and read? Yes, but you may not know what exactly you’re seeing.

It’s complicated. We are bombarded by conflicting information, buzzwords, health halos and claims being made on packages, so we just chug along, not making changes we know we need to make because we’re not quite sure exactly what we’re being sold…or what to trust.