If you bring along your calculator and dictionary to the grocery store in order to decode food nutrition labels, your trip just got a little lighter and hopefully a lot healthier.
Registered dietitian Bonnie Taub-Dix did all health conscious consumers a tremendous favor with her latest book, Read It Before You Eat It: How to Decode Food Labels and Make the Healthiest Choice Every Time. This book, which is compact enough to place in your purse, serves as a guide to help you navigate your way through the mysterious and challenging world of food label reading.
Recent studies have shown that being a wise consumer plays a significant role in choosing between a seemingly healthy health food and a genuinely healthy health food. And accurately reading food labels not only determines what we put into our grocery carts, but it also greatly impacts our health.
Thanks to the FDA, reading nutrition labels has become a much easier and much clearer process and fortunately, additional changes, which will make labels even friendlier to the eyes – and hopefully to the waistline – are on the way.
Read It Before You Eat It breaks down the nutrition panel so that you know what amounts you should be looking for and which amounts should signal a red flag to put the item back on the shelf. In her book, Taub-Dix provides you with a variety of examples from food items and teaches you exactly what the percentage next to the cholesterol data means or how to accurately determine just how many calories and grams of trans fat you’ll consume if you eat the entire blueberry muffin, not just the half listed on the serving size.
But in addition to putting nutrition labels through a microscope, Taub-Dix also decodes the marketing lingo, which makes it legal to call something “trans fat free” when it actually contains trans fats and encourages you to beware of buzz words listed on the front of the package.
Just don’t expect to find your favorite brand names in Read It Before You Eat It. The handy guide is completely free of commercial names. Rather than tsk-tsking particular products or food manufacturing companies, Taub-Dix’s use of generic food labels puts you completely in the control seat as you push and wheel your grocery cart in and out of the aisles.