What's the first thing you need to know about reading food labels? Too often, people with the best of intentions don't realize that unless you read the entire label, you're not going to get a true idea of the food's ingredients. Even then, you have to know how to interpret what the label says to be absolutely certain that you're getting what you want.
"When it comes to processed foods, if it says it's natural, ignore the claim," says Organic Lifestyle Magazine. "It means nothing. If it says it's organic, it doesn't have to be 100 percent organic unless it says it is. Remember processed foods can be labeled organic if only 80 percent of the ingredients are organic. And organic junk food is still junk food."
The best advice is to simply not eat any processed foods at all. But if you must, a short list of ingredients and phrases to avoid includes artificial colors, artificial flavorings, artificial sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup, sodium nitrates or nitrites, and others.