Consumers should be aware of misleading nutrition labels

Beware:
Companies use misleading phrases like “fat-free” or “whole-wheat” to confuse their consumers and contort their products. To truly know what’s in that conveniently packaged snack, take a look at the nutrition label.

Pay attention to:
Serving Size:
Ask yourself if this is the right serving for you. A healthy portion, such as that of pasta or mashed potatoes, should only be the size of your fist.

Calories:
Does the amount of calories fit into your daily recommended intake? An average person should only consume 1,500 to 2,000 calories a day.

Fat:
Look for no more than three grams for every 100 calories.

Sodium:
A healthy diet only includes 1,500 to 2,000 milligrams per day.

Fiber:
Look for grains or cereals with at least three grams per serving.

Sneaky phrases food companies use to trick unsuspecting buyers:

“Made with whole grains”
If a product says it has five grams of whole grain, its expected to be high in fiber. However, that’s not always the case. Five grams of whole grain are one-sixth of an ounce of whole-wheat flour, which essentially has no fiber. Whole grains can be healthy, but they need to have at least three grams of fiber to have any nutritional benefits.

“Calorie free food”
Any product that has less than 5 calories for the stated serving size can be listed as zero. Even if the product is labeled as zero calories, that doesn’t necessarily mean it is a calorie-free food.

“Baked”
This word does not always mean low-fat. Baking versus frying usually means a lower calorie food, not less fat.

Common mistakes made by consumers:

1.Food companies are allowed to list zero grams of trans fat if the amount is less than .5 grams. The only way to tell if an item is truly trans fat free is to look at the ingredients list. If any of the ingredients are hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated, trans fat is present.

2.To know whether something is 100 percent whole wheat, check the ingredient list. If the first ingredient says is not whole wheat flour, then the product is not 100 percent whole-wheat.