Food Labels Explained

Screen Shot 2013-03-22 at 4.28.10 PM
Is fat-free really free of fat? If something has 0 grams of trans-fat, what does that mean to you? How light does something have to be to be called “light?” Or “lite?” And is organic truly organic? What the heck do all those labels mean?

There are different standards for different labels. Some are government regulated, others are left to the manufacturer’s discretion. The only way to know what you’re eating is to understand the labels. So Real Simple Magazine breaks it down for us on their website. Got to the page for the full story, but here are some highlights.

ORGANIC

What it means: Items that are “100 percent organic” are certified to have been produced using only methods thought to be good for the earth. “Organic” means the item contains at least 95 percent organic ingredients.

“100% NATURAL”

The health implications: As with organic foods, no research proves that natural products are better for you. Most food additives, while unsavory sounding, haven’t been shown to be bad for you.

“FAT FREE”

Keep in mind: When removing fat, manufacturers often add extra sugar or starch to keep products palatable. Also, fat-free products may cause people to overeat, most likely because the products are less satisfying.

“0 GRAMS TRANS FAT”

Bottom line: Avoid any product with “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” in the ingredient list; these terms indicate the presence of trans fats. But keep in mind that you should limit saturated fats, too.

Be sure to read the rest at RealSimple.com