Refrigerator filled with food
Photo: Jonathan Sprague
Our latest Make Me a Ten! makeover candidate gets a food-shopping lesson from David L. Katz, MD.
1. Don't trust the packaging. Just because it says "reduced fat" or "smart choice" doesn't mean it's good for you. Many of the products that are touted as healthy simply aren't.

2. Scan the ingredients. Note the first few on the list, because those are the most abundant. (If you're choosing cereal, is the first ingredient sugar? High-fructose corn syrup?) When you're buying bread, you want to see the words whole grain on the ingredients list. In addition, avoid partially hydrogenated oils. Those are code words for trans fats, which have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

3. Look for fiber. When buying bread, cereal, pasta—any type of carbohydrate—you want to see at least two grams of fiber per serving and ideally three or more. It takes longer for your body to digest fiber than it does to digest simple carbohydrates, so the more fiber your food contains, the fuller you'll feel after eating it.

4. Check the fat content. Again, you don't want to see any trans fats listed on the label. And remember that unsaturated fat is better than saturated fat. But no matter what type of fat the label lists, for most foods you want no more than three grams of fat per serving (or per 100 calories). Of course, certain foods, such as cooking oil, are naturally going to be much higher in fat. Just use them sparingly.

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