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Don't Fall for These Nutrition Claims

By Sara Butler

When you're shopping at the grocery store with your health in mind, there are certain things you tend to look for. Whole grains, organic, or low-calorie are just a few of the buzzwords many associate with health when it comes to food labels, but they don't always give the whole story. It's a good idea to dig a little deeper when it comes to the foods you choose. You can start by educating yourself about these common nutrition claims.

Read the Ingredients List

Don't take the bold wording on the front of a food's packaging at its word. Flip it over and take a look at the ingredients label. It's important to understand that ingredients are listed in order of how much of an ingredient is used in the food. The first ingredient will have the highest concentration and then it goes right down the line. That's why the first few ingredients on a package will tell you everything you need to know about a portion of food. And the shorter the ingredients list, the better. If there is sugar in any form is listed in the top three ingredients, then put it right back on the shelf.

Multi-Grain or Whole Grain

When something claims to be made with whole grains, it means that a whole grain of some sort, such as oats, quinoa, or whole wheat, was used somewhere in its manufacture. It doesn't mean the food won't contain more refined ingredients that aren't as good for you.

If you really want to find something that is 100 percent whole grains then look for something that is just that; "100 percent whole grain" or "whole wheat" should be on the packaging.

Organic

If you like to buy organic foods, then there's no reason not to, especially if you like the idea of avoiding pesticides in your food. The trick is to make sure that the organic products you're buying have the right seal, which is regulated by the USDA.

Also, don't mistake organic for healthy. While fruits and vegetables are good for you, packaged foods that are organic aren't necessarily healthy simply because they're organic. Cookies and candy that claim to be organic still have many calories and added sugars as their non-organic counterparts. They are free from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives, though.

Understanding nutrition doesn't have to be complicated. Understand what you're looking for and you'll do great.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Columbus, Ohio.

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