Reading Food Labels - Watch for Fat Traps

     Reading food labels carefully is essential when shopping for your low glycemic food plan. Have you heard of fat traps? These food additives are actually high glycemic sugars and cause your insulin to spike. This is what triggers fat storage.

     We are used to looking for the number of calories or how much saturated fat is in food. Just as important is looking for the hidden sugars, the fat traps, that cause obesity and insulin resistance.

     How can overweight people control their body fat if they don't know which sugars and sweeteners raise blood sugar and stimulate excess body fat?   You really have to be a savvy consumer to figure this out on your own.


What's missing from the label is the word sugar!

Instead you will see a bunch of long words that sound like chemical additives.

How about glucose polymers?


     Unfortunately, labeling the glycemic index of food ingredients and flavorings is not yet required by the FDA. So the problem with reading food labels is that current FDA laws that regulate the labeling industy are not required to reveal the blood sugar, insulin elevating and fat storing properties of the product!

     Labels define calories, fat, carbohydrates, sugars etc. but they do NOT include the glycemic response of any ingredient in the product.

     Look for these high glycemic additives used to preserve food products.

     The most common ones are:

maltodextrins, dextrins, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, added sugar, glucose polymers.

     In the beginning take this printable list of high glycemic additives to the store with you when reading food labels.   After a while you will know in a glance whether you should purchase the food.

     What are maltodextrins and glucose polymers anyway? Sugars are technically carbohydrates so the FDA allowed the manufacturers to call the maltodextrins or glucose polymers carbohydrates. However, they act exactly like sugars in the body. They cause fat storage and insulin stimulation.

      A product that has a label that says it has zero sugar can still raise your blood sugar and be fattening if it has maltodextrins in it!   In fact, maltodextrins elevate your blood sugar faster than table sugar or honey. Maltodextrins and glucose polymers have a very high glycemic index. You'd be better off just eating real sugar as the impact would not be so dramatic.

      Reading food labels is tricky because there are lots of misleading labels on the market such as “sugar free” or “ calorie free” or “light.” These are not necessarily good choices! You still need to read the ingredients because it appears as though calories are all that matter.

     This is NOT true.   Just as the idea that all fats are bad for you or all carbs are fattening, it is misleading.   It is the kind of fats and the kind of carbs that are important, the low glycemic kind are the ones to eat that will not raise your blood sugar and create fat storage.   And it's the low glycemic sweeteners that you can eat without getting fat. Reading food labels effectively means knowing which additives are the high glycemic ones.

     When reading food labels notice if the fruit juice is 100% pure fruit juice.

     To be low glycemic it can have no added grape juice or white grape juice and should not contain added sugars, high fructose corn syrup, maltodextrins or pineapple juice.

      The low glycemic fruits made into pure 100% juice are fine if you dilute them half and half with water.

     It's always better to drink water and eat whole fruit.

     Juices that contain pulp also have a lower glycemic response. Remember that pulp is a fiber and high fiber foods tend to have a lower glycemic rating. Tropicana Grovestand Orange Juice has very high pulp content and is acceptable if you dilute it with water.

     Even sugar-free salad dressings frequently have high glycemic carbs in them which are not labeled. Unless you are at a very high end restaurant the salad dressings will always have maltodextrins in them because they are cheaper to buy in large quantities.    Order your salad with oil and vinegar on the side.    Make your own at home.   If you are going to buy a ready made salad dressing look for one in a natural foods market and read the label carefully.

     Maltodextrins are slipped into a lot of foods that appear to be ok as far as fat and sugar content but they are NOT!    Most people are aware of the dangers of high fructose corn syrup which is added to box drinks, sodas, sport drinks, canned fruits and other foods but most people assume that maltodextrins are a harmless preservative. Maltodextrins are very high glycemic and will raise your blood sugar dramatically.

       Reading food labels is especially necessary when buying desserts for the occasional treat.

      Most ice cream products in grocery stores have all kinds of high glycemic additives, like the maltodextrins. Even ice cream which contains just plain sugar has a lower glycemic response than a frozen dessert with maltodextrins.

     Most jams and jellies are loaded with corn syrup, sucrose, maltodextrins and dextrose. When reading food labels look for those that are sweetened with fructose.

     So now when you are reading food labels you'll know if those preservatives with long names will cause havoc with your blood sugar and avoid them. Here are the lists of the high and low glycemic foods to take with you shopping. Stock your kitchen and pantry with low glycemic foods and learn how to read labels the low glycemic way!


     Below you'll find more tools for your low glycemic plan to lose fat permanently.



Learning How to Grocery Shop the Low Glycemic Way

This is the answer to a reader's question about the best strategy to shop for low glycemic foods in a super market!

Daily Healthy Eating Plan

This is a one week menu guide to low glycemic eating with the calories calculated for you so you can stay within 1500 calories.

Portion Control Tips

You need to know what a serving size looks like and there are lots of low glycemic snack ideas here too!

Glycemic Index List of Foods

The glycemic index list of foods includes foods that lower blood sugar and help you to lose fat.

List of Raw Foods

This list of raw foods contains fruits and vegetables that are a powerhouse of nutrients and they are the most effective way to lose fat.

Omega 3 Sources in Healthy Salads

Healthy salads, especially when you add omega-3 sources or foods with resistant starch, are a great low glycemic meal.

Low Glycemic Foods: Super Healthy Whole Grains

Eating lots of super healthy low glycemic foods means that you are once and for all replacing the fat storing high glycemic carbs in your diet with the low glycemic complex carbohydrates.

High Fiber Foods: Delicious Grains and Legumes

There are extraordinary health benefits in eating fiber rich foods including a lifetime of fat loss!

Low Carb Pastas and Cereals

Great news for pasta lovers....you don't need low carb pasta because all pasta is low glycemic.

Good Fats

You need to look to the polyunsaturated fats (omega-3 sources) in learning how to eat a healthy diet and even to lose body fat!

Calcium Rich Foods

Taking a look at dairy products and just how these calcium rich foods affect the glycemic index chart.

Sugar Free Desserts and the Good Sugars

These are sugar free desserts that taste great!

Soups, Oriental Cuisine, Protein Foods

This low glycemic index chart shows the soups, the oriental cuisine and the protein foods that do not raise your blood sugar.

Glycemic Load

This is a more precise way of calculating the glycemic index.

Acidic Foods: High Glycemic Sugars

Know the difference between the alkaline and acidic foods. If you are fat you are eating too many acidic foods.

High Glycemic Foods

These are the foods you need to avoid most of the time.

Controlling Food Cravings

Food cravings go away when you eliminate these foods.

Food Lovers Diet

Food lovers can celebrate good food and manage their weight at the same time!


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