If you consider eating healthy but don’t read the ingredient list on the labels of packaged foods, you’ll be surprised at some of the ingredients that belie the claims made on the front of the package. Some products that claim to contain only whole grains may actually have more sugar than grains it it. Others promise to be free of trans fat but may actually contain up to 0.5 grams of partially hydrogenated oils, a source of trans fats, in the ingredient list.
According to Christine A. Rosenbloom, PhD, RD, professor of nutrition at Georgia State University, the first thing to remember is that the ingredients are listed in descending order of predominance, with the first two or three ingredients being the most important. Those at the bottom of the list may appear in only very tiny amounts.
The word ?whole? should appear as the first or second ingredient on the package of breakfast cereals, crackers, pasta, and breads. Check the fiber content on the nutrition facts panel to make sure. University of Pennsylvania family nutrition expert Lisa Hark, PhD, RD, said that whole-grain foods should deliver at least 3 grams of fiber per serving and ideally even more.
Beware of the ‘ose’ in ingredients list. Fructose, sucrose, dextrose are all forms of sugar which add calories but few nutrients. Many packaged foods contain different forms of sweeteners that have a similar metabolic effect as with other forms of sugar: they contribute to weight problems. Check out the nutrient facts to know exactly how many grams of total sugar a product contains. Having 4 to 5 grams of sugar is equivalent to one teaspoon.
When it comes to trans fat, products claiming to be trans-free may in fact contain up to half a gram of trans fat per serving. Be wary of partially hydrogenated oils in the ingredients for they are the primary source of trans fat, which have been shown to be potentially more harmful to arteries than saturated fat.
Artificial food colorings, usually found in candies, cereals, snack foods, and sodas, don’t have any nutritional value. Based on some research, they may even pose dangers to health.