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Reading Food Labels – It’s Easy

Reading Food Labels – It’s Easy

Being aware of what you eat is a key when you want to lose weight and have a healthy body. For instance, if you are on a low carb diet you need to make sure the food you buy and consume meets the requirements of your diet. We rely on the food labels to tell us what is in our food. Before buying food you may want to ask yourself:

Just how accurate are these food labels?
Am I taking the time and effort to read and understand the labels?

Some people believe that the food labels may not all be accurate, instead they are just designed to promote and sell the product. People are debating whether or not the so-called net carbs in various low carb foods is accurate. So the key question is: do food labels
actually provide the customers with the accurate information they need in order to help them avoid processed carbohydrates? For example, some of the foods that claim to have little or no carbs, such as protein bars and sweets, don’t taste accordingly.

There are also customers who simply do not look at the details about the contents of the food as stated on the labels. It is strongly recommended that you read the food labels and understand them, so that you buy and eat what is suitable for you and your diet.

Once you start a diet, you must read the food labels, and be informed about how the products are actually manufactured.

Some items labeled low carb foods attain lower carbs by their method of carb counting; and this is a fact you must know. Some of the labels list total carbohydrates, then eventually subtract certain items from the total to arrive at net, effectual, or usable carbohydrates. This is the number that is always shown on the front of the food pack.

Total Carbohydrate vs Net Carbohydrate

On food labels, do you know the difference between the “total carbohydrate” and the “net carbohydrate”? There is a wording somewhere on the package that explains the difference between these two. Amongst the nutritionists and experts, there are some disagreements on the calculating method. Due to the fact that there is no legal definition of the term “low carb” or any official means of distinguishing it, most consumers are not well informed or given good advice.

Net Carbs

In order for you to fully comprehend the food labels, you must know the net carb content of the food item. “Net” carb content is derived from subtracting the grams of fiber and sugar alcohols from the total carbohydrates. The reasoning behind this is that many of the food manufacturers believe that fiber, while technically a carbohydrate, is not absorbed by the
body, and therefore must not be measured as carbohydrate.

As far as sugar alcohols are concerned, the manufacturers believe that although these are technically carbohydrates and a source of calories, they have an effect on the blood sugar, and therefore must not be added up as carbohydrates.

Because some of the food labels are not very clear while some are not so easy to understand; it is recommended that instead of buying and consuming large quantities of processed foods, such as protein bars and mixes or drinks, you are better off eating natural foods such as:

Whole grains

If you want to eat low carb, it is better for you to get away from all processed foods.

Alternatively, be very vigilant in reading food labels and make sure you understand them. Some of the net carb statements may be a marketing ploy, and the content label may not be essentially a good description of what’s actually contained in these food products.

It is your body, and your health, so be vigilant and informed when reading the low carb food labels. Make sure you know what you are eating!

Lana Hampton is the publisher of Visit to subscribe to her free weight loss tips newsletter and also receive a copy of Lana’s “Confessions of a Weight Loss Expert” report today.

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