Today’s food labels carry a lot more information than ever. But simply reading a label isn’t enough. It’s important for you to know how to interpret the words and terms in order to consume a diet that will benefit your heart and overall health.
See how well you can decode a food label:
Looking for a nutritious breakfast that fuels your body and helps your heart? Johns Hopkins exercise physiologist Kerry J, Stewart, Ed.D., likes to start his day with cereal, berries and yogurt, and he explains why it’s good for his heart.
Cereal: “Oatmeal is a great source of fiber, but I don’t like it myself, so I choose a different high-fiber packaged cereal. On the label, my favorite cereal appears to be high in carbohydrates, but when you subtract how many of those total carbohydrates are actually dietary fiber, you can see that they’re good carbs. In general if you take the total carbs and subtract the fiber, you get net carbs, a better indicator of what the body will absorb into the blood stream. The lower the net carbs, the better."
Berries: “I usually choose blueberries, which are anti-inflammatory and not as high in sugar as bananas.”
Yogurt: “I choose a low-fat brand that’s marketed as ‘diabetes friendly’ on the label, which means it’s low in carbohydrates. You get all the benefit of yogurt with far fewer carbs. Greek yogurt is also a good choice because most brands have fewer carbs than regular yogurt. Compare the labels—some low-fat yogurts contain a lot of added sugar. Also, the total amount of fats isn’t as important as the total amount of carbs.”