6 Tips on Reading Food Nutrition Labels

EveryDay Fitness - Elise Hawkins Nutritional Therapy

From Shasta Nutritional Therapy.

When it comes to making healthier food choices and implementing more nutrient-packed foods into your diet, one of the most important things that you can do is learn how to read and understand food labels so that you can make sure the foods that you are purchasing really do carry all the nutrients that you are looking for. While some foods might say “natural” or “organic” on the front cover, it is best to take a closer look at the ingredients so that you know for sure what you will really be putting into your body. So what are some things that are good to look for when you are reading food labels on different food items? Here are some of my personal tips on what to look for under the nutrition facts label as you are browsing grocery stores and making your shopping decisions.

1. Look for only 3-5 ingredients or less

The more ingredients in a packaged food item, the more highly processed it probably is. The less ingredients, the better.

2. Avoid high fructose corn syrup

High fructose corn syrup is sweeter and cheaper than sugar, which is why it is in almost every processed food or sweetened drink. Ingesting high fructose corn syrup can create fat production in the liver, which can lead to liver problems. 

3. Avoid hidden sugars

When you are checking a food nutrition label, be sure to check for artificial sweeteners that may possibly contain sucralose. Artificial sweeteners that contain sucralose can cause harmful biological effects in the body. If you want to sweeten something up, try adding a little bit of a raw form of sugar like some local raw honey.

EveryDay Fitness - Nutritional Therapy

4. No sugar in the first 3 ingredients

The first 3 ingredients in a food item make up the majority of what you will be eating. This means that if sugar is one of the first 3 ingredients in the food item you are thinking about purchasing, you will mostly be eating sugar. Even if a food or drink item says organic or natural, it’s still a great idea to check the ingredients because those food or drink items could still potentially carry a lot of sugar.

5. Avoid hydrogenated fat, trans fat, and hydrogenated or processed oils

In 2015, the FDA determined that trans fats are not generally recognized as safe for human consumption. It has been determined that consuming trans fats can lead to serious health issues. In the same way, hydrogenated or processed oils carry harmful chemicals that can be detrimental to your health. Many processed, packaged items have been produced in oils that have been heated to high degrees, making them unsafe to eat.

6. Real food ingredients

The best thing that you can do when it comes to making healthy meals every day is incorporate as many real, raw food ingredients into your meal as possible. The more real food you have in your meal, the better!  


If you would like more information on what kinds of foods you can implement into your daily meals that would best benefit your body, it would be extremely beneficial for you to set up a consultation with a nutritional therapist! Elise Hawkins is a nutritional therapist in Redding who loves to partner with individuals to help them find out what their bodies really need so that they can ultimately reach their health and fitness goals. Whatever health or fitness goals your may have, whether it is the desire to lose weight or the desire to learn how to incorporate healthy meals into your every day life, Elise Hawkins would love to help you achieve those goals by finding out what your body really needs through counseling, education, and nutritional implementation. For high-quality nutritional therapy in Redding, and nutrition services in Shasta County don’t hesitate to contact Shasta Nutritional Therapy!