9 August 12 Details, Details, It's What Matters When Dieting – Watch Those Labels!

When grocery shopping, we often don't have the same mentality as "window shopping," but perhaps we should. When we're shopping for clothes we are faced with those slim plastic models showing off how this shirt may look with those pants, but only when we try clothes on do we really understand what they look like. Too bad we can't "try on" food, as some recent reporting is suggesting there is quite a gap between what's on the label and what's inside the box.

This goes beyond the half-full bag of chips, which we're pretty accustomed to these days. Calories aside (for a moment), we tend to shop with our eyes first, so when we're picking out what looks good to us based on the picture on the box, we can be easily deceived. As shown in the Consumer Reports article, the bountiful, oozing, colorful, overflowing, enticing foods on the cover often pale in comparison with the actual product. What we risk is buying less food than we think we are and then when we're still hungry after our "meal" we turn to snacking on what' nearby.

Now back to calories and nutrition, another sneaky little tactic food companies like to employ is to highlight the positive and skip over the negative. How many times have you seen, "ALL NATURAL INGREDIENTS" or "Low Sodium," but upon closer inspection you find out that those "NATURAL" ingredients include lots of fats, and those low in sodium dishes turn out to be very high in sugar. Furthermore, just because something's "Fat Free" doesn't mean it's better than regular. Just check out this study by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute.

Lastly, along these deceptive lines in thinking "less is more" when it comes to food packaging, some food manufacturers try to rebrand their items as healthier by taking out one thing but adding another. For instance, sometimes when something says it's higher in fiber, that company may be adding inulin to boost fiber, which is a food additive that's been shown to cause gastrointestinal discomfort. Also, "No Trans Fat" could simply mean that the food has corn or cottonseed oil instead, which is hardly any better health-wise.

So how do we win? Buying whole, unprocessed foods as often as we can is a good start, as well as paying a little extra attention reading those Nutrition Labels.

Ryan Newhouse

Ryan Newhouse is the Marketing Director for MyNetDiary and writes for a variety of publications. He wants you to check out MyNetDiary on Instagram!

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Nutrients/Food label

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