As of January 2006, all food labels had to add Trans Fat to the nutrition profile on packaged foods. However, there’s a catch! If the product has less than 0.5 grams per serving, it can list the amount as 0 grams! Guess what? There is no safe level of trans fat, so if the product contains 0.45 grams per serving and you eat multiple servings (foods like crackers and cookies it’s easy to do) you may be ingesting more than you bargained for.
At the conference I attended last week, I left with lots of samples of new products to try. Since there were so many I did not spend the time to read the label of each and every one. At the Quaker booth, I took a sample of their new “Fiber & Omega-3 Dark Chocolate Chunk Granola Bar.”
Ingredients: Granola (whole grain rolled oats, sugar, rice flour, brown sugar, whole grain rolled wheat, coconut oil, partially hydrogenated soybean and cottonseed oils and/or sunflower oil*, whole wheat flour, molasses, honey, sodium bicarbonate, soy lecithin, caramel color, salt, barley malt, nonfat dry milk, vanilla extract, whey sodium caseinate), oligofructose, semisweet chocolate chunks (sugar, chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, salt, vanilla), crisp rice (rice, sugar, salt, barley malt), flaxseed, sugar, corn syrup, fructose, partially hydrogenated palm kern oil*, glycerin, sunflower oil, natural and artificial flavor, molasses, cocoa (processed with alkali), water, buttermilk, cocoa, salt, milkfat, soy lecithin, hydrogenated palm oil*, sorbitan monostearate, polysorbate 60.
- Product labels can be quite deceiving, before grabbing a new product just because it boasts something high in nutrition, make sure to do your homework!
- Read the nutrition facts label – in packaged foods like this make sure to look out for saturated & trans fat, sodium, fiber and sugar.
- Read the ingredients! The list should be short. You should be able to pronounce almost everything, and if you can’t look it up to see what it is!
- Do not buy anything with trans fat – partially hydrogenated oil.
- Watch out for MSG – monosodium glutamate.
- Be aware of added sugars, artificial sweeteners, and sugar alcohols.
- What is the product claiming? See how they substantiate their claim. You are already seeing a lot of products with added fiber and omega-3s. Before you buy into these claims, think about how you can get these sources naturally.