Know How To Read Your Labels

Do you ever wonder where your food comes from? Do you read the nutrition label of your food before you buy it? Getting to know your food labels could have a great impact on your health and well being. Two questions to ask yourself next time you go to the grocery store is where did this come from (local or miles away?) and is this food whole or processed?

Whole foods are the way to go. They have not been altered and are free from additives. This includes vegetables, legumes, fruits, seeds, nuts and some meats, fish and poultry. The foods you want to consume minimal amounts of are the ones that have been altered to make the product into another form of food, then preserved and packaged (crackers, salad dressings, granola bars etc.) These foods are usually high in saturated fat, trans fat and calories.

Labels can be confusing and can be easily influenced. It’s not about good or bad food, it’s about knowing what you as an individual should choose. Confusing food labels can hide diet hazards, “Fat free” is a diet disaster. It usually just means loaded with sugar and empty calories. Next time you go to choose a fat free option, look at the sugar content first! Another popular diet hazard is believing “All natural” is always better for you. False! The FDA states that if the food doesn’t contain synthetic or artificial ingredients then it can be labeled as “all natural”. This includes Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and many bags of chips sold on the shelves. 

Now, how to avoid these health claims? Minimum your intake of the following:

Saturated fats (such as palm oil), Trans fat (such as partially hydrogenated oils), Sodium (intake 1500 to 2300 mg a day), Sugars & Syrups. Lastly and most importantly, if you can’t pronounce it- don’t buy it. Know the ingredients in your foods.

My shopping advise: shop around the perimeter of the grocery store!

This is where the fresh produce, dairy, meats, and seafood are. The processed foods are generally in the middle of the store, so avoiding that all together won’t tempt you. It’ll improve your grocery store choices and help control your fat and calorie intake. 

Guest Blogger: Brianna Crosby

Hi guys! My name is Brianna Crosby I’m extremely passionate about nutrition and wellness and I love helping others succeed in terms of health. I’m a Food Science major at Clemson University and I’ll be graduating May 2015!  My goal is to become a Registered Dietitian in order to impact overall health through nutrition. Ideally the purpose is to assist others to achieve their goals to live a happier and healthier lifestyle.



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