National Label Reading Day: Debunking misleading labels

7:14 AM, Apr 11, 2013   |    comments
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GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - We all need to eat, and we know eating healthily is important.

Yet often misleading claims on nutritional labels could be wreaking havoc on your diet.

So, Christina Meyer-Jax, a registered dietitian, visited KARE 11 Sunrise to help us debunk misleading labels.

NO TRANS FAT - Any products with less than 0.5 grams of trans fat - an artificial ingredient that leads to increases in artery-clogging bad cholesterol (LDL) - can be legally claimed as having zero trans fats. If you happen to eat several servings or a few different 'trans fat-free' foods a day, you can wind up consuming a measurable amount. 
- Label Lesson: Avoid products with partially hydrogenated oils, which contain trans fats, listed as an ingredient. 

MULTIGRAIN- Many of us confuse the 'multigrain' claim on our bread, pretzels and even chips to be the same as "whole grain" or "whole wheat" - both of which are associated with reduced risk of heart disease and diabetes. Don't be fooled - multigrain means the product is made from several types of grains which can include refined and less nutritionally-positive varieties. 
- Label Lesson: To make sure the product is made primarily with whole grains, check the first ingredient listed on the label - it should have the word "whole" in it! 

SUGAR FREE - More and more consumers are looking for products that are low in sugar; however, beware of sugar-free claims as these foods typically use artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols which often cause digestive issues. 
- Label Lesson: Be on the lookout for ingredient lists that include artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols such as aspartame, saccharin, sucralose and erythritol. 

LIGHT - A product claiming to be light must have one-third fewer calories, fat or sodium than the regular version of that same product. Be on the lookout, though, as a light ice cream, for example, may have less fat but around the same calories. 
- Label Lesson: Before piling up on what you believe is a 'light' snack, be sure to read the label to see which category the food has less of and more importantly, stick to the serving size!

(Copyright 2013 by KARE. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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