YOU DON’T READ THE LABELS…
Studies have shown that people who read food labels are more likely to lose weight. When left to our own devices, we vastly underestimate calorie counts. But deciphering those labels isn’t always easy. Use this guide to what you should look for to help you slim down (and speed up).
01 / SERVING SIZE Many serving sizes are much smaller than those people are accustomed to eating.
02 / NUMBER OF SERVINGS Some foods that look like a single serving are actually two, or more.
03 / CALORIES PER SERVING Assess this in terms of your daily target (see no.3, p42).
04 / SATURATED FAT PER SERVING High levels raise heart disease risk. The Department of Health recommends saturated fat should account for no more than 11 per cent of your energy intake.
05 / TRANS FATS PER SERVING: Found in processed foods and usually listed as hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, trans fats have virtually no nutritional value.
06 / SUGAR PER SERVING: For refined sugar aim as low as possible, though if you’re eating raw fruit or dairy products, don’t stress about the sugars.
07 / PROTEIN PER SERVING Aim high, while maintaining your calorie target. Protein keeps you full, and repairs and rebuilds muscle. Spread intake through the day and beware ‘high-protein’ foods: some bars have a meal’s worth of protein, but also a meal’s worth of calories.
08 / FIBRE PER SERVING Like protein, fibre makes you feel full. It also keeps your GI tract healthy. It can reduce cholesterol levels, so it promotes heart health.
09 / VITAMINS AND MINERALS The best foods are nutrient dense, which means that in addition to a good blend of carbs, fats, and protein, they contain key vitamins and minerals such as calcium, vitamin C and iron. Look at the ‘recommended daily allowance’ column to judge levels.
10 / INGREDIENTS LIST Remember, food ingredients are listed in descending order of weight. So if sugar is first…