8 Ways You’re Reading Food Labels Wrong

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4. You think all sugars are created equal

The sugar found in fruits is not the same as the sugar found in processed foods. While whole and milk contain natural sugars, a chocolate candy bar packs refined sugar. Refined sugar is a lot different from the natural one, because provides virtually no nutritional value. So, sugar like table sugar, corn syrup, and honey are literally empty calories.

“When making a judgment of too much or too little sugar, it’s deceptive,” says Mills. “You have to look at the actual ingredients in the product.” If the white stuff is listed in the first half of the ingredients, you can be sure that it will give you a big caloric punch, she says, but sugar in the last half isn’t as significant.

However, you should definitely avoid products such as cookies, cakes, pastries, bread, pasta, crackers, pre-made beverages, flavored yogurt, salad dressings, pasta sauce and peanut butter—they all pack refined sugars. (For a more mindful approach to eating, you should give this book a try.)

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