Shopping smart means avoiding misleading labels

, Posted: Wed, January 29 2014 at 6:10 PM, Updated: Fri, January 31 2014 at 4:13 PM

Medford, Ore. -- With all the options available a trip to the grocery store can sometimes be a little overwhelming, especially if you're trying to make healthy choices. But it may become a little easier as the Food and Drug Administration plans to send new food label guidelines to the White House.

Kellie Hill, Nutrition Therapy Practitioner from The Right Plan says it's about time. She tells people to be wary about food labels.

"It's complicated because the government can only regulate so many words and people find tricky ways around them."

Three words to watch out for? Zero, light/lite, and natural.

"Zero doesn't always mean zero," Hill said.

By law you can have a gram of the nutrient in the product per serving and still call it zero.

And what about light? Hill said "light" and "lite" have to have one-third less calories or 50 percent less fat than the original. But that doesn't necessarily mean they're healthy options. She said manufacturers will add a lot of sugar for flavor. She thinks it's important to look at food labels and ingredients and compare the light and regular options.

And then there's natural. We have snacks with natural fruit juice, and breads with natural grains, but Hill said to ignore the natural and look for a percentage.

"You want it to say 100 percent whole grain or 100 percent rice or whatever it is because if it doesn't then it's going to be a combination of things," Hill said.

Potential label changes include making calories more prominent, switching measurements from grams to teaspoons, and including a line for added sugars and syrups.

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