Food Labels vs Ingredient Lists; What’s the Best Way to Select Healthy Food

Nutrition information facts on assorted food labels

Food labels aka Nutrition Facts were developed to provide nutrition data for packaged foods. Nutrition labels are anything but helpful. It’s terminology is too scientific. It is extremely difficult for the average consumer to understand. I have a medical background and I find it extremely difficult to interpret. Whenever I read a product label it raises more questions than answers regarding serving size, calories, and sodium content.  For instance, how do I know that the amount I eat is the same as the serving size listed on the package. It does not provide enough information for you to make an informed decision. This is exactly why food labels are not helpful.

The ingredients list is a much more accurate way to determine food health, as it lists all of the food ingredients. The FDA requires that companies list both the scientific and common ingredient names. The more complicated the ingredients the more processed and unhealthy the packaged food.  One rule of thumb is to buy foods that have simple ingredients that are recognizable and easy to pronounce.  Whenever you go grocery shopping opt for foods that have short and simple ingredients. If the list contains ingredients that are difficult to pronounce it more than likely is unhealthy processed foods. Even foods that are deceptively marketed as healthy can be the exact opposite. Do not let food manufacturers deceive you with misleading key words like organic, Non gmo, and natural ingredients. The ingredient list does not lie. Use it as your roadmap to guide your purchase. Avoid products that contain complicated scientific ingredients. You should not have to have an advanced degree in chemistry to read labels. If an ingredient list is too difficult to understand keep looking until you find products with simplistic ingredients. As the old saying goes, keep it simple. Choose the ingredient list over the nutrition facts.

What do you find more helpful when you shop Food labels or Ingredient lists? Leave and comment and let me know your preference.

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