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Reading a nutrition fact label

Reading nutrition fact labels can help you figure out whether a food product is healthy to eat. The first item to check is the amount of sugar and fat, especially those foods labeled as low fat or low sugar. You can always tell what the latest diet fad is when you look at the front label of a grocery item.

Be warned...just because a label on the front of a product says �low fat� or �no sugar� doesn�t mean it is a healthy choice. Often, "low fat" means the fat is removed and replaced with sugar. A good example is salad dressing. If you compare the ingredients in a regular salad dressing and a �lite� or �diet� dressing, you�ll see higher amounts of sugar in the �lite� or �diet� version.
The extra sugar in the salad dressing can cause your insulin level to increase. Some people think that if something is �fat free�, they can eat more of it. Eventually, your body reacts the same way t the extra sugar as it would to the fat. The sugar converts to fat and it ends up making you fat anyway. Long term, this can wreak havoc with your metabolism and cause insulin resistance.

Sometimes sugar will be replaced with �sugar alcohols�, which are substances that are chemically derived from sugar. It is the ingredient in all those �healthy� candy bars available now. This ingredient can help quench a craving for something sweet but in the end, you are just reinforcing those sugar cravings instead of taming them.

Other nutrition facts to look out for include the amount of cholesterol and excess sodium. High cholesterol and too much salt is dangerous for your heart. Plus, high sodium causes problems for those who are trying to lose weight.

Bad Fat?

Fat on a nutrition fact label is usually divided into saturated fat, which is bad and unsaturated fat, which is �good�.

Saturated fats are subdivided into partially-hydrogenated vegetable oils. These are called trans fats and most products that don�t have this type of fat are labeled �no trans fat�.

A partially-hydrogenated vegetable oil is a regular fat that�s been chemically changed with oxygen and it�s usually found in margarines and other processed foods. Trans fats are very dangerous to your health.

Good Fat!

Omega 3 fatty acids are good fats that come from fish, nuts, and certain plants. Besides eating the foods that contain Omega 3 fatty acids, many doctors and health care specialists recommend supplementing with Fish Oil capsules. Always follow the guidelines for choosing a good supplement.

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