When the food labels says "free" it may not necessarily mean "free"

Mar 01, 2011

Foods labeled as fat free or sugar free might not be totally "free" depending on the portion you normally eat. In other words, if you want to keep off unwanted pounds, it's smart to be a label reader.

"The manufacturer can label a food fat free or free if it has less than one-half gram per serving," said Karen Brewton, R.D., L.D., with The Methodist Hospital in Houston. "It can meet the criteria for "free" as the portion listed on the label, but if your portion is much larger, you may be consuming significant amounts of fat or sugar and therefore more . "

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

Manufacturers set the serving size for the package, so it's important to not only look at the serving size, but also the number of servings in the package. If you eat the entire package, you will need to multiply the numbers on the label by the number of servings in the package. For example, chips and snacks offered at the check-out lane in the grocery or at the gas station appear to be one serving but often contain 2 or 3 servings per package.

"Sugar free" is another designation to watch out for, especially for people with diabetes. Brewton says sugar is a carbohydrate and foods such as sugar-free cookies or candy are not free of carbohydrates. A person with may be unintentionally consuming large amounts of carbohydrates that can raise their .

"If reading labels is not for you, you can always head to the produce department where there are foods that are extremely healthy for you and they have no labels," Brewton said.

Explore further: Maternal age at childbirth may affect glucose metabolism in their adult male children

Provided by Methodist Hospital System

5 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Study: Portion size is all in your mind

Jun 21, 2006

U.S. researchers say you can ignore the number of portions listed on nutrition labels -- the scientists say portion size is all in your mind.

Do low-fat foods make us fat?

Dec 08, 2006

Recent Cornell studies in movie theatres, holiday receptions, and homes showed people eat an average of 28% more total calories when they eat low-fat snacks than regular ones. "Obese people can eat up to 45% more," reports ...

Apple Launches Free Computer Take-Back Program

May 31, 2006

Apple announced the launch of its free computer take-back program, offering US customers environmentally friendly recycling of their old computer when they buy a new Mac. The Apple Store and Apple retail stores will give ...

How to... eat for health

Feb 15, 2009

Fixing these common mistakes will help many people be healthier, says Dr. Phillip Snider, a family physician in Virginia Beach, Va.

Recommended for you

Endocrine disruptors cause fatty liver

1 hour ago

Exposure to low doses of hormone-disrupting chemicals early in life can alter gene expression in the liver as well as liver function, increasing the susceptibility to obesity and other metabolic diseases in adulthood, a new ...

Extended pre-cessation bupropion helps smokers quit

5 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Extended pre-quit bupropion is associated with reduced smoking behavior during the pre-quit period and improved short-term abstinence rates, according to a study published online Jan. 14 in ...

Medical device surveillance on the horizon

7 hours ago

Thousands of people around the world have been exposed to toxic chemicals generated by their metal hip implants. Similarly, many patients have contracted infections from pieces of implanted mesh used in hernia-repair surgery, ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.