Make label reading a new habit and check the ingredients lists for refined sugars

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The BFFM program was designed to teach you new habits that you can adopt and keep for life. One new habit you can begin working on immediately is the habit of reading nutrition labels. Many people already check the "nutrition facts" panel on food labels for calories, fat, protein and carbohydrates. What most people miss is the ingredients list. Always check the ingredients list for refined sugar content. Refined sugars are not always listed on the nutrition facts panel as "sugar." They may be disguised in the list of ingredients as high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, rice syrup, sucrose, glucose syrup, brown sugar and invert sugar. These are all different varieties of refined sugar. If sugar is listed as one of the top few ingredients, then that food is not something you should eat on a daily basis.

The ingredients list on a food package is a good way to determine refined sugar content because labeling laws require that the ingredients be listed in the order of their precedence. The grams of sugar listed on the "nutrition facts" panel can be misleading because it doesn't distinguish between refined and naturally occurring sugars. For example, Dannon makes a sugar free, fat free yogurt called "Dannon Light." On the Nutrition Facts panel, it says that out of 15 grams of carbohydrates, 9 grams are sugar. But if you look at the ingredients list, you'll see that there are no refined sugars because it's sweetened with Aspartame. The 9 grams of sugar come from lactose, the naturally occurring simple sugar in dairy products.

Here's another example: Most protein bars, which are marketed as bodybuilding health foods, are loaded with refined sugar. Although the total carbohydrates are not high, if you read the ingredients list, you are likely to see some kind of protein powder as the first ingredient, with corn syrup (refined sugar) as the second ingredient. Don't just judge a food by the grams of carbohydrates or sugar listed, dig a little deeper and check out the ingredient list.

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