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Take Time to Read the Labels: January 7, 2019

Name brand or generic? Price or promise? How do you pick your products at the grocery store? Health experts say, there’s only one way that will benefit your health. “Looking at labels a little closer might take a little more time when you’re in the grocery store, but you want to think about how that will pay off long term,” said Erika Graziani, an outpatient nutrition program coordinator with Lee Health.

Before tossing items into your shopping cart, health experts recommend looking at the nutrition label. “When you’re looking at the food label, the most important things I think to kind of pay attention to are the things that are going to affect your health the most,” she explained.

Things like total fat, saturated fat, Trans fat, cholesterol, and sodium are the things that can harm our health. Ideally, you want 0 Trans-fat and only 6 percent of saturated fat a day. “Saturated fat and trans fat are two types of fats that are mostly responsible for raising not only the total cholesterol but also that LDL or what they call bad cholesterol,” said Graziani.

Even when you see words like “All Natural” and “Organic,” it’s still important to read the label. “You have these words that people associate with being healthy, but the bottom line is what’s in that food product is the most important,” said Graziani.

To find that, look at the ingredients. “Ingredients go from greatest to least regarding what they contain. If you see sugar as the first or second ingredient, there’s going to be a lot of sugar in that product,” she explained.

In addition to sugars, find how many types of syrup are in the product. Taking time to compare these numbers and read through the ingredients will help you make healthier food choices.

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