Not-so-healthy ingredients are hiding in your otherwise healthy food.
A new study, published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, looked at how much consumers actually pay attention to Nutrition Facts labels on food products.
When the study participants were asked about their label-reading habits, many said they read the nutrition facts: for example, 33 percent reported “almost always” reading the calorie content. (The number of people who reported reading other components of the label, such as fat and sugar content, was lower.) But when the researchers put the study participants to the test with an eye-tracking device, those who truly read the Nutrition Facts label was much lower (only 9% looked at calorie counts, for example)—and even when consumers did examine the nutrition information, very few assessed every component of the label.
As a dietitian and nutrition editor of EatingWell Magazine, I’m not terribly surprised by these findings. Nutrition Facts panels can be tedious to read—and, frankly, they aren’t nearly as visually appealing as the rest of the food package and the claims on it. Which is why, unless you’re a dedicated, detailed label-reader, you might be surprised to learn that sometimes there are not-so-healthy ingredients hiding in food you’d otherwise think is healthy.
Here are four food categories that, surprisingly, contain not-so-healthy ingredients that you should watch out for: