Reading Labels

If you are reading this article, chances are your reading skills are fairly well developed. However, I would like to make a distinction between reading skills and comprehension. Comprehension is the ability to understand what you just read and requires knowledge. I would like to make the urgent case for building your knowledge about the food that you eat everyday. People often link food to weight. It is true that what you eat has a direct impact on your weight, but let me assure you it has a much more significant impact on your overall health.

The nutrition value of everyday foods are readily available on the Internet. Many products come with their own nutritional information. At first the details seem scary and unclear with terms like %DV, % Protein, % Sat Fat etc. These terms are often also deliberately made confusing, especially if the brand does not want you to easily interpret the actual nutritional value of the food. Worse foods come with labels like enriched with, fortified with and the goodness of (pick your poison). I kid you not when I say that three pieces of carrots or peas pass off as “added vegetables” to your otherwise completely unhealthy product.

As someone without the requisite knowledge, these terms are confusing and at times downright misleading. However, the easiest way to get healthy, backed by scientific research, is to control what you eat. There is no other single factor that has such a disproportionate impact on your health as does food.  It takes a day or two and minimum effort to understand food labels. Once you do, you will never go back to eating something without understanding what it does to you.