You’ve decided. You are going to make positive changes about the way you eat. You are going to only eat low-sugar and low-fat foods. When you see a product on the shelf, you’re only going to look for foods that say “healthy” on the front. But, hold on. “Healthy” doesn’t always mean it’s good for you.
The word healthy is thrown around by nearly everyone in the food industry and is used very loosely to describe what they are selling. It could mean many things – weight loss, increased metabolism, better medical health – but there is no clear definition on the front of the package. It’s not enough to advertise your product as “healthy,” your product must also pass the nutrition label test.
Read the ingredients and read the nutrition label on the back
According to registered dietitian Rebecca Helquist, the most important thing to do before eating something is to read the ingredients and the nutrition label.
“Ingredients are listed by the amount in the product. So, the first ingredient listed means that will be the most in the product, and so on. The fewer, more natural ingredients, the better,” says Helquist.
Helquist suggest you ask yourself when you read the list of ingredients, “Can I pronounce these words? Will my body digest that?” If the answers are no, then you need to move on down the aisle.
Helquist also says that the percentages on the nutrition label can be confusing, but are vital when deciding what to put in your body. She breaks it down simply:
- Aim low – less than 5 percent – when looking at percentages of fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium.
- Aim high – greater than 20 percent – when looking at percentages of vitamins and minerals such as calcium and Vitamin C.
Low fat and low sugar doesn’t always mean healthy
Just because a product is promoted as “low fat” or “low sugar” doesn’t mean that it’s healthy or good for you. If a product says “low fat,” it usually has more sugar. If a product says “low sugar,” it usually has more fat. These two spins on “healthy” are misleading, so always take extra time to look at every ingredient and study percentages on the nutrition label.
Choose natural and organic foods instead of “healthy” options
Healthy has such a vague and overused meaning in the food world. It can mean too many things and is tossed around plainly without any real benefit to you, the consumer.
Expert nutritionists at SmartBox have a defined philosophy behind what it means to be “healthy.” Their choices are natural and organic, using ingredients that can metabolize unlike artificial ingredients. These natural and organic products have half the sugar but the same sweetness, satisfying cravings and leading to natural weight loss. Natural and organic foods also promote increased mental alertness and personal productivity.
Before you reach for a food product that says “healthy” on the front, make sure you read the ingredients and nutrition label. Look for natural and organic food choices and you’ll be on your way to a truly healthy lifestyle.