How to Spot Fat Content on Food Labels

Fat Content Section of FDA Food Label

Butter, olive oil, lard, vegetable oil, margarine, oleo, shortening, hydrogenated vegetable oil, cream — fat comes in a lot of forms. For those of us looking for a healthier way to eat, fighting hidden fat is an ongoing battle. In this spot-the-fat blog, we look at how food manufacturers hide fat.

Ah, Food Labels

So a good rule of thumb is to never pay attention to the information on the front of the box. Lite, light, low-fat, low calorie, 100% natural, organic, low sodium, low salt, and many other terms get slapped on the front of food labels and they are not always accurate. Just disregard those little words. A lot of the meaning of these words comes down to how they are defined by the FDA.

Low salt, for example, is a catch-all phrase but what does it mean? Low in salt as compared to what? Low fat as compared to what? Butter? Instead of buying into the "feel good terminology" flip the box over and read the FDA food label on the back. What you will find is low fat is defined by a number. Oh, so in this case low fat means it contains 20 percent of my daily fat allowance. That does not seem all that low to me. If you are trying to find healthy food choices that also help you lose weight, then a low fat product that contains 20 percent of your daily fat allowance is not for you. You might as well drink a shot glass full of olive oil which is a healthy oil — not!

Fat Is Not Your Friend

Fattening foods are often called comfort foods and they are comforting. The problem with them is that they begin to control your life. Every crisis you need cookies. Every bad day at work requires a slice cake, French fries, or pudding. Pretty soon, you cannot cope with anything without a sugary or fat-drenched snack. At the Metabolic Research Center, you can learn how to replace fat and comfort foods with healthy choices that help boost your energy level. Along the way, you lose weight naturally, without resorting to foods that bring you down.

One of the biggest lessons we learn is how to spot fat by reading food labels. It isn't the tag words on the front of the box that matter. It is the numbers on the back of the box that make a big difference. Don't be afraid to put down foods that are not helping you reach your healthy eating goals. For more support, information, and a whole library of healthy menus, head over to the Metabolic Research Center.


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