4 Reasons To Read Food Labels
Allergies, diet restrictions, ingredients that can cause discomfort... There are many reasons to stop for a moment before buying a product in the supermarket, and stay informed about the foods you're going to buy.
Food labels give us really valuable information. We must pay attention to them when we’re going to buy something or when we’re preparing our food. This article will show you why reading food labels is important.
What’s on food labels?
Thanks to food labels we can know a lot about the food we bring to our table and how we nourish ourselves. They allow us to know if it’s a good or bad health choice and how much of the product we should consume to avoid health problems or illnesses.
Sometimes we believe a product is healthy because it has a green label or the picture of a field in the package. However, when we read the Nutrition Facts Label, we realize that it isn’t as ‘good’ or nutritious as we thought it was.
These labels include nutritional information such as fat percentage, number of calories or portion size. They also indicate the ingredients that were used to manufacture or produce the food we are looking at.
When we see names that are very hard to read or understand or ingredients with a lot of numbers and letters, it means that the food has been manufactured unnaturally and it’s not homemade at all.
Why read food labels?
There are many different reasons to pay attention to the nutritional information label located on the back of food products. The most important ones that you should remember the next time you’re at a supermarket are:
1. To know their fat percentage
For example, if you’re on a weight loss diet, sometimes you can be tricked into believing that a product is healthy because of its packaging (especially if it’s green). However, thanks to the labels, you can easily know the amount of saturated and unsaturated fats it contains.
In addition, the label will inform you about the fiber, carbohydrates, sugars, proteins and all of the other nutrients that have been included in the product during its preparation. So, not only can you know if it’s suitable for consumption according to your needs and diet but also how much of it you should eat.
2. To avoid ingredients that produce allergies
Let’s suppose you’re gluten or lactose intolerant. The best way to avoid foods that contain these ingredients is by reading their labels. The same thing happens if you’re diabetic and need to avoid sugar or if you suffer from hypertension and want to stay away from sodium.
In this case, information can be very valuable. Therefore, it’s essential to read the label carefully to avoid allergies, vomiting, discomfort, blood sugar spikes and sudden changes in blood pressure.
3. To be aware of its ‘industrial’ composition
This is very important since on many occasions we don’t realize the amount of chemicals and artificial ingredients, such as preservatives, that we’re ingesting. If we don’t know the name of a component or ingredient, it’s probably because it was made in a laboratory. They do this to enhance flavors, prevent products from expiring quickly or alter the food’s texture in some way.
Pay close attention to food labels. They even show what the factories don’t want you to know: the amount of artificial ingredients in their products.
4. To be fully aware of what we eat
Finally, the most important reasons for reading food labels is to be aware of what we consume. We shouldn’t buy a product just because it’s affordable or comes in a colorful package.
We have the ability to choose what we want to eat or not. If we look at the Nutritional Facts label and we realize that a certain product will be very harmful to our health, then we shouldn’t buy it.
This is a long process. We may be very used to eating certain products (that can even make us addicted to them). But if we take just a few minutes whenever we go grocery shopping, we can significantly reduce how much food with high amounts of artificial ingredients we consume.