Insights & Actions for Healthy Living

I thought I knew what to look for on the label but I was wrong! The calories listed on the front did not line up with the truth for the food I ate, what should I look for?

This is very frustrating for all of us, including dietitians. I was recently duped by the label on a popcorn box!

The front of the box said 160 calories and I thought that for the bag and used that to compare other microwave popcorn. Was I wrong! The true calories of that popcorn according to the nutrition fact panel was 2.5 servings in each bag for a total of 400 calories. It was marketed as light. I thought I was eating 160 calories and doing much better than that on my total calories for the day, but I was totally misled.

What is the answer? It is very important to read the nutrition facts panel and not the front of the packaging which can be confusing and outright purposely misleading. If we read the label, understand the correct portion size and calculate what we eat to learn the true calorie and nutritional contribution to our daily values, we will not be as easily misled. By having correct information, we can better adjust our meal plans to manage our weight and our health.

The front of the package labeling seems to be focused more on marketing and less on giving us clear health messages. Some nutrition claims made by manufacturers such as heart healthy or organic are regulated by the government and others are more vague such as natural. Read more about this in my blog post about nutrition labels.

Let’s all get more practice using the nutrition facts panel so we can feel confidant that what we think we are eating is really what we are and not just hype.

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