Read this to slim down – nutrition labels, that is.
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Rather than dipping into the latest diet book, add browsing at the grocery store to your weight loss routine.
According to a report in the journal Agricultural Economics, researchers analysed the shopping habits of 15,000 women and found that those who turn over food packages to look at the nutrition labels weigh an average of 4kg less than those who don’t.
“It’s clear that those who take the time to study the items they’re purchasing end up making healthier, more informed choices,” says study co-author Steven T. Yen, a professor of agricultural economics at the University of Tennessee in the US.
Pooja Vig, nutritional therapist at The Nutrition Clinic, points out the key things to look out for on that label. Keep these in mind the next time you’re at the supermarket!
1. Check the portions
Snacks often suggest smaller serving sizes to keep the calorie score low. Ignore the fact that the package says “only 100 calories per serving” and ask yourself: What counts as a single serving – and will you stop at only one?
2. The order of ingredients
The main constituent usually appears first on the ingredient list. If the first few words you see are “sugar” and “corn syrup”, steer clear. These will really derail any weight loss plans.
3. Watch out for tricksters
Not all healthy foods are created equal. For instance, yogurt can be high in sugar, especially if it’s low-fat (to make up for taste). Also, juices aren’t always chock-full of vitamins. In fact, labels with the words “juice drink”, “juice beverage” or “juice cocktail” usually mean the drink is laden with sugar or high fructose corn syrup and water – only five per cent comes from real fruit juice.