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Reading Food Labels Properly

Greetings friends. Lots of you have been asking questions about how to read food labels and so on so I thought that I would repost a blog article I read on the Changing Habits website a while back by Sheridan Williamson. Sheridan is a nutritionist with Changing Habits and this article is easy to understand and offer great advice on how to read a food label properly. Enjoy the read 🙂

How To Read a Food Label

When I was studying to become a nutritionist, we were taught to always refer to the nutrition panel on food. This is the table that lists the amount of fat, salt, sugar, carbohydrates and protein in the food. So, I began to do this and became obsessed by it. I knew how many kilojoules/calories were in the food product but my health only continued to decline.  How could this be? The media and food companies also promote the benefits of reading the ‘nutritional information’ on food packaging as it will let you know the nutritional content of the food you’re eating. Well, thank heavens I learnt better, as I began to discover the real truth of what’s actually contained in food. By reading the ingredient list of the food and NOT the nutritional panel, you will get the complete picture as to what the food has been made of.

Why shouldn’t you care about the nutrition panel?

‘Okay, so thank you but no thank you for letting us know how much fat, salt, sugar, carbs and protein is in the product. But sorry, it is practically useless’. It is absolutely crucial to discover EXACTLY where these food groups are coming from. For example, one fat certainly does not equal another fat – where is the fat coming from? Is it coming from butter – produced from grass fed organic cows, or is it coming from hydrogenated vegetable oils like margarine? Butter will provide an array of vital nutrients and quality saturated fats that the body can use, opposed to margarine which needs to be fortified with synthetic nutrients, which will destroy cell to cell communication resulting in weight gain and many other health problems.

When the nutrition panel may be helpful…

The only thing I will ever use a nutrition panel for is to demonstrate to someone how many sugars can be found in the food. This is because a product may add numerous types of sugars into the product, hidden by an endless list of names including sugar, glucose syrup, fructose, corn syrup, maltose, dextrose etc etc.
However – we don’t necessarily know exactly HOW much of that particular product they have added. Did you know that 1 tsp of sugar = 4g of sugar
For example, a yogurt branded as ‘healthy and low-fat’ can in fact be just like having a bowl of ice-cream for breakfast. In a single serve 170g pot of yogurt, there is 19.8g of sugar. Therefore, in this example that individual would be consuming close to 5 tsp of sugar. The World Health Organisation recommends adults consume a maximum of 25 grams (6 teaspoons) a day. So in this instance, you’ve almost reached your daily intake recommendation of sugar by consuming one snack or part of a breakfast.

What to look out for:

It is important to know what you are looking for, so consider the following:

  • ALWAYS look at the ingredients list first.
  • Watch out for products that say ‘low fat’, ‘no sugar’, ‘low calories/kilojoules’, ‘low carb’, ‘high protein’, or any claim alike. These generally contain artificial sweeteners or other junk to replace the sugar etc.
  • Ensure the food groups come from high quality natural foods. For example, the sugar should come from dates, or the protein should come from grass fed beef, or the fat should come from coconut oil and the salt should come from Himalayan mineral rich salt.
  • If you can’t recognise the ingredient, then it is likely that your body won’t either, so it is best to avoid it.
  • Avoid ingredients such as: gluten, wheat, additives, numbers, preservatives, thickeners, flavours, flavour enhancers, vegetable oils, vegetable fats, dextrose, dextrin, maltodextrin to name but a few.
  • The first ingredient in the ingredients list is what is contained most in the product, the last is what it contains the least of.

So remember to read the ingredient list first, when looking at a product. Where possible, prepare meals yourself using ‘real’ foods. If you are buying pre-packaged foods, then endeavor to go for products that only contain a few real food ingredients. This change cannot be underestimated. Become educated, make changes step by step and you will reap the benefits of long-term health and vitality.
Happy real food shopping!

Something Extra For You

As Sheridan has said towards the end of the article; “Become educated…” When it comes to real foods and proper nutrition, knowledge is power. Big corporations care nothing for your well being, only for the profits they can make from you. Having a good understanding of food and nutrition is something that EVERYONE deserves to have. The awesome people at Changing Habits have a firm understanding of this and have created a simple to follow and understand online nutrition course that I recommend for almost all of my clients as it is just so important for lasting lifeling well being. The course is very affordable at only $197.00 and it will teach you how to be healthy for life. If you truly care about your own and families well being take a look at this course and consider it as an investment in your greatest asset; your health. Just click the link below to learn more 🙂

Introduction To Nutrition Course – Click Here



Until next time, be well, naturally.

Craig Hitchens – Natural Helath Practitioner + Remedial Therapist.





Alternative & Natural Health Disclaimer:

The information contained in this article is accurate at the time of posting but may change thereafter. The information provided on the various natural health subjects from this website of is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as any form of medical advice. The information in the article this disclaimer is linked from is not meant to treat, diagnose, prescribe or cure any ailment. Always check with your health professional before taking any products or following any advice that you believe may conflict with other forms of health care. Always consult your health care professional before you start, stop or change anything that has been previously prescribed. Certain herbs and holistic remedies are unsuitable to take if you are pregnant or nursing and must always be cleared by your health professional before use.

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I highly recommend Craig Hitchens and his services. Craig has helped and supported me through some very difficult health problems using NES and general nutritional advice. Craig has often provided advice and done research without me asking, sometimes without charging me, in his free time. He is a caring, well informed, passionate and highly motivated natural health practitioner. I Feel that NES has cured me of chronic Epstein Barr virus that left me bed ridden for 5 years. My chronic fatigue has been significantly reduced and I'm now living a normal, happy life.
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