How to Read a Food Label in 3 Easy Steps


I remember when I was first diagnosed with Lactose Intolerance my mom would say it took her twice as long to go grocery shopping, because she’d have to read every. single. label. This was before the improved food allergy labeling that we have now, where boxes clearly state if a product contains dairy, or was made in a plant with dairy (though we still have a long way to go). I even have a vivid memory of her calling a food company after I got sick eating their cereal that didn’t have dairy anywhere in the ingredient list. Turns out, the cereal was made on a machine that also manufactured a dairy-containing cereal, and it was enough to get me sick. Had it been on the label, it would have saved us some trouble (and some belly aches). My food allergy experience made me (and mom) a label reading expert, and I automatically turn food bags and boxes over to read about the contents before I put anything in my shopping cart. But label reading can be confusing, especially since they’re constantly changing the format, requirements, and contents (remember when trans fat wasn’t even mentioned?). That’s why I wrote a post about how to read a food label in three easy steps. You may be surprised to find what I recommend you look at first on a food label (hint: it’s not calories!). Check out my label reading tips on the Attune blog.

What do you look at first when examining the nutrition facts label?

One Comment

  1. Cindy
    Posted September 20, 2011 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

    now that I am a newbie vegan I usually immediately look for the notice about milk and eggs. If the product has neither, then I look at the ingredient panel carefully. I got fooled recently when I bought rice cheese, thinking it was vegan without checking the ingredient panel. It was days before I noticed the milk protein in it, so I’m much more careful now.

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