Healthy Living

20 Immediate Changes That Will Improve Your Health

Hydrogenated oil? Fructose? Teach yourself what ingredients on nutrition labels actually mean.

As previously mentioned in the slide about mindful grocery shopping, reading and understanding nutrition labels on food items is incredibly important for a healthy lifestyle. While some products may claim to be healthy or beneficial for weight loss, many hide some nasty ingredients that can do some serious harm to the body. Also, the term "natural" is not regulated, and things that read "organic" are only so if they have the USDA label. If it's not certified organic, definitions vary vary depending on a company’s interpretation.

When reading a food label, check out the ingredients list first; if it is ridiculously long, more often than not, it isn’t good for you. If it contains artificial colors, additives, or preservatives like high fructose corn syrup or BTHQ, put it back! Those chemicals will only hurt your health. Beyond the ingredients list, be sure to take a look at the serving sizes and the accompanying fat, sugar, and sodium content per serving. Products with high daily value percentages are not necessarily healthy. Companies may try to hoodwink you by using vague terms, but you can avoid having the wool pulled over your eyes by reading the food labels.