Taking nutrition labels into account before you consume a product is one of the best ways to watch what you eat, but many people make some common mistakes that can result in excess weight gain.

One of these mistakes is not paying attention to the serving size. If you disregard the serving size of a product, then a 130-calorie snack can turn into 325 calories instantaneously! Also, make sure that you focus more on the back labels as opposed to just the claims put on the front of the package.

Key Takeaways:

  • Only paying attention to the claims on the front of the packaging can lead you into a lot of misinformation.
  • Many foods have a large amount of sugar in them which leads to extra calories, even if they are presented as healthy on the packaging.
  • Consuming foods with too much sodium in them can lead to excessive bloating, so be sure to keep an eye out for sodium content.

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When it comes to eating for weight loss, the nutrition label is your secret weapon. Unfortunately, reading it can feel like we’re learning a foreign language at times.

1. You Only Read the Front of the Package

Trader joe's organic sprouted quinoaIt’s easy to get seduced by food labels that read “organic,” “all-natural,” and “gluten-free,” but if you base your purchase choices on flashy claims and skip reading the nutrition label altogether, you miss out on valuable info (i.e. calories, ingredients and serving sizes). “Just because it’s made from organic ingredients doesn’t mean it’s less likely to make you gain weight,” says Keri Gans, RD, owner of Keri Gans Nutrition and author of The Small Change Diet.

2. You Ignore Serving Sizes

Serving size on nutrition labelA big mistake people make when reading nutrition labels is not paying attention to serving sizes, Gans says. For example, if you drink an entire bottle of juice without looking at the label, you may not realize that there were actually two-and-a-half servings in the bottle and that what you thought was a 130-calorie snack was really 325.

Once you start measuring specific quantities, you might be surprised to learn that one “serving” is actually a lot smaller than you thought it was. Natker uses dry cereals as an example: One serving of cereal could be two-thirds of a cup, but “if you actually take out your measuring cup and measure it, you’d be pretty sad about what that means,” she says.

3. You Don’t Check All of the Ingredients

Reading grocery store labelAccording to Natker, the ingredients on your nutrition label are listed in order of weight, so the first ingredient listed is the one in the greatest amount. However, many people only check the first three to five ingredients (if they read the list at all). “You don’t want to ignore the end of the ingredient list because this is where you’re going to find your added vitamins or the smaller weighted things,” Natker explains. Some of the ingredients you see at the end could be artificial sweeteners like sucralose and aspartame.

What’s more, reading the ingredient list in its entirety will clue you in as to whether that “multi-grain” bread is truly multi-grain or if it’s mostly just enriched wheat flour. “Just because it says whole grain on the label, it doesn’t mean that this is a completely whole-grain food,” Natker says.

According to Gans, neglecting the ingredient list may not necessarily lead to weight gain, “but you might be consuming certain foods or ingredients that you weren’t aware that you were,” she says.

4. You Don’t Look for Added Sugars

Granola barsIt’s no secret that consuming too much sugar is bad for your overall health — to say nothing about maintaining a healthy weight. Eating foods high in added sugars can lead to a surplus in calories while offering nothing of value (i.e. satiety).

Many foods contain naturally-occurring sugars. Yogurt, for example, contains lactose, which is a natural form of sugar in dairy products. But added sugars creep into everything, from your salad dressing to your granola bar. Many yogurts—especially those with fruit—are chock-full of added sugars that offer no nutritional value. So if you really like having fruit in your yogurt, you’re better off adding it yourself. “Adding your own fruit can add natural sources of vitamins and minerals, as well as natural sources of fiber,” Kaufman says.

To keep your heart healthy — and your pants from getting too snug — the American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugars to no more than 100 calories per day for women and 150 calories per day for men. You can find the amount of added sugars hidden beneath the total sugars amount on your nutrition label.

Read full article here : https://www.eatthis.com/nutrition-label-mistakes/