If you want to know what’s in your food, nutritionists recommend looking beyond the nutrition panel.
Actually, they recommend looking below it to the ingredients list.
“The label that’s just as important, if not more important, is the ingredient label,” said Katherine Tallmadge, a registered dietitian and author of Diet Simple.
Tallmadge said the nutrition panel will tell you how much protein or fiber is in your food, but it doesn’t tell you the source of the nutrient.
“You sometimes find fiber in the most unlikely of foods, like candy bars,” said Tallmadge, “Because the manufacturer has added fiber to it so they can say high fiber.”
Tallmadge also recommends figuring out how the percentages and grams listed on the nutrition panel fit into your diet.
“My clients don’t bother with those percentages because those percentages are based on someone who eats 2,000 calories a day,” Tallmadge said.
If her clients are trying to lose weight or gain muscle, she adjusts their calorie intake to achieve their goals, which could be more or less than 2,000 calories.
Lauranne Gordon has been working with Tallmadge to make adjustments on her diet. After looking at the ingredients list on her almond milk, she switched back to regular milk.
“On the almond milk, the first ingredient is basically water,” Gordon said.
Gordon finds looking beyond the nutrition panel to the ingredients list has helped her make healthier choices.