Reading Nutrition Labels

Effectively cutting down on cholesterol, sugar and salt
calls for a close reading of nutrition labels. Here is a
simplified guide to understanding the fine print:

* INGREDIENTS. These are listed in descending order,
according to their weight.

* SUGAR. Whether it's called sugar, dextrose, sucrose,
corn sweetener, corn syrup, honey or molasses, the food
has little nutritive value if the sweetening ingredient is
among the first three listed. When listed as a minor
ingredient, a combination of two or more sugars might
actually add up to a hefty sugar count.

* CHOLESTEROL. Avoid coconut and palm oil, as
they are more saturated than animal fats. Nonspecified
vegetable oils frequently mean palm or coconut. When
buying margarine, choose the brand with liquid vegetable
oil as the primary ingredient. It contains less saturated fat.

* SALT. While sodium levels are not shown on many
ingredient lists, look for brands that list sodium by
milligrams. As a rule of thumb, no one should consume
much more than 4,000 milligrams of sodium daily. Those
on restricted diets should have considerably less than that
amount.


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