Failing to read read labels properly can be hazardous to your health.
In Chapter 10 of our book, we address the topic of learning how to read labels. And we provided some “expert” input from Jeff Novick, a former manager at Kraft Foods with a long list of nutritional degrees and credentials. Included below is an entertaining 9-minute video of Jeff describing the “Pam Scam” in great detail.
A few things to always remember when reading labels:
- Don’t believe anything on the front of the package.
- Rely ONLY on the Nutrition Facts panel.
- Always check the serving size.
- Check the ingredient list (beware of more than 3)
The front of the 2% milk package is shown above; the all-important Nutrition Facts panel for that product is shown below. Borrowing some text from our book, this valuable information is summarized below:
Ignore the front of the package. To start, don’t believe anything on the front of the package. It includes words and phrases to make you think that you are buying a healthy product. The front of the package has everything to do with marketing and almost nothing to do with nutrition.
Finding the fat. Check the nutrition facts panel and the list of ingredients, which by law must be included on every package. Here is where you can find information to help you make the best choices about packaged food. Forget what the package says about the percentage of fat or that it says “fat free,” and do a little math on your own.
The nutrition facts panel contains total calories per serving and the number of calories from fat. Simply divide the fat calories by the total calories to get the percentage. You want to average less than 20 percent of your calories from fat.
The truth about 2% milk. An example of the tricks the food industry plays is in how 2 percent milk is labeled. When you do the math, you realize that 33 percent of the calories are from fat. The dairy folks compute the percentage of fat based on weight, leading you to believe that only 2 percent of the calories come from fat.
The “Pam Scam.” The FDA allows any food with less than half a gram of fat per serving to put a zero in the nutrition box under calories per serving. Of course, the makers of cooking spray then take the liberty of calling this product “fat free” since their recommended serving size is one-third of a second spray that delivers less than half a gram. Even though the five-ounce container delivers a total of 462 calories, amazingly, each serving contains none.
All of this is really hard to believe that our government permits such gross misrepresentation by our food industry. Want to hear Jeff Novick talk for nine minutes about the “Pam Scam,” take a look at the video below.
When “fat-free” really means 100% fat!
Breaking News. Free Audiobook for iPhone (Healthy Eating, Healthy World) now available through Amazon; with 30-day Audible.com free trial. I listened to 40 pages yesterday while walking and it works great. You can even vary the speed of the delivery.
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—J. Morris Hicks…blogging daily at HealthyEatingHealthyWorld.com
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