What Ingredients to Look for on Food Labels

Learning to read food labels will help you add nutrition to your diet

Credit: dan domme

Three ingredients to watch out for and five to look for when reading nutritional labels

When navigating the grocery store through an endless selection of packaged foods, it is important to know what to look for on an ingredient list.

What to watch out for

Enriched wheat flour, very common in baked goods and convenience foods, is an ingredient to question. When flour is “enriched,” the nutrients lost during processing may be replenished but one of the top ingredients of all, fibre, is not. Instead of enriched wheat flour, look for whole-grain flour.

Hydrogenated vegetable oil is another suspicious ingredient. It is associated with trans fats that are worse than saturated fat when it comes to heart health.

The third biggie to beware of is added sugar. It can take many forms including sucrose, glucose, fructose, dextrose and corn syrup – to name just a few. Natural sweetness from fresh fruit is better than sweetness achieved with added syrups or sugars.

What to look for

Five fantastic ingredients to look for on labels are: fibre, protein, vitamin D, calcium and unsaturated fats.

Read labels and choose food for what it contains – what you are actually going to eat – rather than what the food lacks.