I have been reading food labels since high school. So, you can imagine my surprise when I came across an article that described how food labels can be inaccurate by up to 20%! This could make a HUGE difference in you weight and size over time! If you consume a diet of 2,000 calories a day that could mean an extra 200 calories. That means, in 2 weeks you would gain 1 pound (or 2 per month). OUCH!!!
So, as consumers, how do we protect ourselves against these inaccuracies? Here is what Hungry Girl had to say about it!
1. Small mom-and-pop companies are more likely to have mislabeled products than big brands. We see this time and time again. That’s just the way it is.
2. The FDA allows companies to be up to 20% off on the nutritional stats on packaged foods. So something that is labeled as having 150 calories could, in fact, have 180 calories. Something touting 14g fat could have closer to 17g. Yes, annoying.
3. The nutritional info provided by restaurant chains is sometimes WAY off. The stats listed on websites, on menus, and in pamphlets are based on the specific amounts of ingredients that should be going into each dish. But the nutritional values in the actual food you’re being served can be different due to stuff like oversized portions and careless or uninformed cooks. (“Oops, I used a quarter-cup of oil to saute that chicken instead of a tbsp. Oh, well!”) (source)
Overall, if you want to be really strict with your eating (which you do), then it is best to make things yourself at home. Restaurants shouldn’t be in your daily routine. Using whole foods is the easiest way to make sure that you can monitor your intake. Unprocessed should be the way to go for everyone, yet most people live on processed foods and pay more money to get prepared foods.
One great “rule of thumb” is to look at the way competitive body builders eat….. They make their own foods, they monitor their fat intake, consume whole foods, eat low sodium diets, drink plenty of water, and eat high protein diets. This way of eating helps them to achieve that lean look so that their muscle mass shows, without water retention and unwanted fat.