While it would be difficult to fully understand everything that is on the labels of the foods you eat, it is an essential step to understanding how to eat healthily and properly. Dieters often neglect to check labels themselves and eat based solely on their intuition or what their dieting books claim is acceptable to eat. In order to lose weight you need to take control of your diet and fully understand what you are putting into your body. While this may be a daunting task for those who have never done it before, its not as hard as you might think.
Perhaps the most important thing that you can see on the nutrition label is the appropriate portion that you should be eating. Many people will eat two or three times the recommended portion of a food without fully realizing it. This contributes greatly to weight gain, as you eat a large amount of unnecessary calories which are eventually converted into fat. Try to literally measure out everything that you eat with a measuring cup, tablespoons, etc. This will allow you keep track of everything you eat – an essential step in an easy diet.
Another important thing to observe on the nutrition facts label is the amount of fat and the number of calories that fat contributes. Food which are high in fat tend to contain ‘empty calories’ which have little nutritional value. Also look at the types of fats in the food. Saturated and trans fats are extremely unhealthy and should be avoided wherever possible.
Look at the other nutrients as well to ensure that the food you are eating has nutritional value. There is a huge difference for eating to fill up and eating to be healthy. Meals that are high in carbs and sugars can cause indirect weight gain and should be eaten sparingly. Try to find foods which have high amounts of vitamins and minerals along with good amounts of fiber. These nutrients are essential for a healthy body and fiber can actually burn calories thus reducing your net calorie intake.
Lastly, do your best to stay away from processed foods. There have been links to weight gain, diabetes, and even cancer from consuming overly-processed foods. But how will you know if a food is highly processed? Some foods will say right on their packaging that they are minimally processed. If they don’t say this, check the ingredients that they use. Do you recognize them? A good rule of thumb is that you shouldn’t be eating food with ingredients that you can’t identify. The more obscure chemicals that are in the the food, the less you should be eating it!
All the best, be happy and healthy.