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Family 411: Tips for reading nutrition labels

Updated: Thursday, April 10 2014, 08:43 PM EDT
CINCINNATI (Sheila Gray) -- The federal government hopes new food labels will help with America's obesity epidemic..

But it could take years for the FDA's recommended changes to be finalized because the label's very different.  A native of France, Delphine Deignan says finding healthy food for her American family can be a challenge.

"I found that here, there's a lot more preservatives, processed food," she said.
   
So the mother of three reads labels closely.  Delphine is always on the lookout for added sugar.

"When I look at the label, I look at the sugar, where it's from. We don't do any high fructose corn syrup," Delphine said.
   
Family physician Dr. Dale Block says high fructose corn syrup is the most common added sugar.

"The whole idea is to eliminate the added sugars in our diet because that adds to calories we don't need," Dr. Block said.
   
Dr. Block also says families should also avoid trans fats, "It's not the amount of fat, it's the type of fat."
 
Delphine uses real butter instead of margarine, and she has secrets for getting good fats into her children's diet.

"We cook a lot with coconut oil, put it in their oatmeal, in their smoothies, put avocados in their smoothies," she tells us.
   
And when it comes to reading labels, simple is best Delphine said, "If you can't pronounce it, don't buy it.  Ha, that's easy."

One last tip doesn't require any reading, only a little bit of your time.  It's regular family dinner.

"That's when we talked about the issues of the day, plus we helped them understand the importance of healthy eating," Dr. Block said.

Lessons Delphine hopes will last her children a lifetime, "When I'm not here anymore, I want them to be in charge of themselves and have good health."

Serving size is also important and doctors say current food labels don't list realistic serving sizes.  The FDA is taking comments now and it could take another year to issue new rules.

Follow Sheila Gray on Twitter @SheilaGrayTV and LIKE her on Facebook Family 411: Tips for reading nutrition labels


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