Monday, May 9, 2011

Food labels

Hello Bloggers!
Today’s Star Tribune features an article about food labels titled: Don’t get caught in food-label booby traps by Tony Amidor of Food Network Kitchens. He articulates 10 common traps. Here are my top picks:

Natural: Did you know that the term “Natural” is really not well defined by the FDA? Marion Nestle writes about this ambiguity, too, on her blog at this here. Amidor’s advice: when you see the word natural on the label, just ignore it.

Trans-fat-free: You should know that trace amounts of trans fat can be hidden in many foods. How do you know there are trace amounts of trans fats? Key: look for words such "partially hydrogenated" on the ingredient list.

Omega-3 fats: "Not all omega-3s are created equal. Those from flax (called ALA) don't have all the benefits (such as helping with heart health) when compared with the omega-3s derived from fatty fish such as salmon and tuna (called DHA and EPA). Knowing which types of omega-3 fats are in foods is the important part." For a closer look, check out Nestle's label on Omega-3 fats.

Reduced-fat: Many of you are probably already aware that reduced fat comes at a price: more sugar is added to many products to replace some of the flavor lost by fat reduction.

Serving size: According to Amidor this is the "most common mistake around: Thinking the calories on the label are for the entire product. Always check the serving size."

You can read the entire Amidor article here. Marion has also written extensively about labels.

Keep checking your food labels! Have a great start to your healthy week! TTFN, Michele


  1. We are (again) thinking alike!
    Love it!

  2. A good reminder for all of us, thank you! I always read labels and I think it is a good thing to remember that labels aren't so much truthful information as they are a sales tactic. We wouldn't believe everything that we're told by a used car salesman, why would we believe an advertisement?

  3. I agree, totally! Labels are amazingly nuts! I was planning on doing a program @ TOPS on this - sometimes, if you actually measure the "portion size", it's absolutely crazy, like a 1" square of cake!
    Thanks for the reminder! Watching (1) the product ingredients is important too (maybe more important) and (2) watching the labels to see if the product is "real", i.e. actual food or not -- that one is becoming more & more common here. i.e. chocolate milk that is actually "dairy drink" or "frozen dessert" instead of "ice cream". Scary stuff!

  4. I know Michele. It is amazing how many servings are in something when you use to eat the whole thing. I never use to read labels, I do now, all the time.
    I went for another bike ride today. One kid in the bike seat, the other on my shoulders in a back pack and one on a bike in front of me. Lets just say that was a lot of work but another day done.
    Take care Michele and have a blessed evening.

  5. Thanks for sharing! I've been reading 17 day diet and seeing how changes happen in your body after one healthy meal is amazing!

  6. Labels tell a story,sometimes you need to read between the lines. Best to stick with whole foods where labels don't have much on them because there is nothing much else added to the short story of the original food.

  7. I read labels, but prefer to eat veggies and fruits with no labels. However, they are unavoidable in some situations, and we just need to watch the portion size, calories, fat, carbs, protein, and salt. Well, I guess we need to watch it all! (sigh)

  8. I gave you an award:

  9. This is seriously awesome. Thank you so much for sharing. I really think they should have classes in high school on how to read labels and know what is REALLY good for your body and what is not. Those marketers can spin words to make so many things sound good (think "Free range chicken").

  10. I generally look at labels of any new product I'm considering. Mostly I'm checking out sugar grams and ingredients, especially preservatives (I try to avoid these as much as possible).

  11. Great info, thanks Michele! Hope you are doing well.