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Nutrition Labels 101: How to Evaluate Packaged Foods

Become a Label Sleuth

Become a Label Sleuth

Nutrition labels are on food packaging to help you make healthy, informed choices about what you eat — yet most of us don’t bother to take a look. A University of Minnesota study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that, in a mock grocery shopping exercise, only 9 percent of more than 200 participants checked the calorie counts for most items they planned to buy. In the same study, a mere 1 percent almost always scanned for total fat, trans fat, sugar and serving size.

Don’t worry, becoming a label-reader doesn’t mean you’ll spend all day roaming the supermarket aisles.  Here are 10 simple steps that can help you get a quick read — so you can quickly toss the right foods in your cart, shove the wrong ones back on the shelf and head to the checkout knowing exactly what you’re eating.

By Amanda Tust. Published April 29, 2013. Amanda is a Denver-based health, science and lifestyle writer.