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Health Halos: What Food Labels Really Mean

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Nutrition Labels to Look Out For

There are plenty of other tricky terms in the supermarket. Don't let these misleading labels fool you, warns Bonnie Taub-Dix, RD, author of Read It Before You Eat It.

These foods contain no artificial colors or additives, but they may still be full of sugar, sodium, and fat.

This can mean a product has fewer calories and less fat or sodium than the original version, or it may simply refer to flavor or color (as it does with olive oil).

85 percent lean
Sounds like a smart choice when buying ground beef, but it's still 15 percent fat (about 13 grams of fat per burger). Opt for at least 90 percent lean instead.

The food contains many kinds of grains, but not necessarily any whole grains or fiber.

This is meaningless on poultry packaging, because laws prohibit farmers from giving chickens growth hormones.

Made with real fruit
Just because a sugary processed food, like cereal or a toaster pastry, has a smidge of dehydrated fruit, that doesn't make it good for you.

Less sodium
This product isn't necessarily low in sodium; it just has less than the original version.

Good source of _____
Sounds like it means a slam dunk as a source of fiber, calcium, or other nutrients, but it really means you're getting just 10 to 19 percent of the Daily Value.

Produce Cheat Sheet

Save bucks by buying organic only when it comes to the Dirty Dozen, the fruits and veggies listed here, which have the highest levels of pesticide residue.

Imported nectarines
Imported grapes
Sweet bell peppers
Kale/collard greens

Source: Environmental Working Group

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, October 2011.


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lynnibaker wrote:

very good article with lots of good information

2/18/2014 03:15:24 PM Report Abuse
motoheadfarmboy wrote:

As a farmer I know first hand that organic milk and beef is not better for you than conventional. Its the Pasture that brings all the goodness to the product. You can get pasture based dairy, beef, chicken, goat, lamb thats not organic and just as good for you.

2/6/2014 09:14:56 PM Report Abuse
lesvia5 wrote:

Worth reading this article.People need to be reminded of being more nutrition oriented. Adults and children should be encouraged to learn to read food labels and not to be attracted only by the packaging.

7/11/2013 06:55:33 PM Report Abuse
nothatsjustyou wrote:

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6/25/2013 10:21:32 PM Report Abuse
ahmed99mido99 wrote:

that's a wonderful article its more interesting

5/22/2013 04:42:34 PM Report Abuse

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