New Product Label Reading

There are many new products available in the grocery store today. Some shout low fat, low sugar, all natural, organic, so how do buyers really know the healthiest to buy? For some individuals, it may be the total calories that matter, the amount of added sugars, or even the total fat content of foods. In order to get past all the pretty packaging and really know how healthy a new product is, start with the food label to find out more about the food item.

Look for approved seals such as “USDA Organic” or the “100% Whole Grain” seal when searching organic or whole grain. Search for “Lower Sodium” or “No Salt” when lowering sodium intake. “Lower Salt” means there is at least one-third less salt than the original product. “No Salt” means there is no added salt and the product should be virtually salt-free. Read food labels to find out how much added sugar is in a product. This information is located on the food label, in the carbohydrates section, just check for sugar and then the grams of sugar per serving. Generally speaking, for every 12 grams of carbohydrates listed under sugar, this may be equivalent to approximately 3 teaspoon of added sugars. The American Heart Association recommends adult Americans limit their sugar intake to 6 teaspoons a day. In addition to evaluating food labels, reading a product’s ingredient list, can help consumers learn more about new products.

For more information, visit the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion Website.