I’m the first one who dislikes people who are following some strict diet rules. Especially when they are trying to persuade others around them to do the same.

However, it’s good to establish some basic habits that fit people follow. One of them is very simple – reading the labels.

You have probably heard that store-bought products often have a lot of sugar, or salt or E-something stuff. And although you don’t have to run from some of that food completely, it’s smart to be informed about what exactly are you consuming.

So, just start by reading the labels.

Open up your fridge and take a look at the products you have. Do you have any idea how much sugar there is in your cereals or in that orange juice? Or even how much orange actually is in there. And don’t be fooled by labels that say ‘More than 50% of fruit’ – that doesn’t mean that it’s just orange. Apples give way more juice and are cheaper for production than oranges, so it’s often mixed.

Orange juice can also mean that there is a lot of water, a lot of sugar and some kind of orange extract etc. Whatever it is, the tiny prints on the back of the package has to have that info. It’s up to you if you read it or not.

Don’t be fooled by bigger price or green package or signs that say ‘nature’, ‘eco’ etc. They are just marketing. When I started reading the labels, I found exactly which brand of orange juice is the healthier option in my store. And surprisingly, it’s one of the cheaper one with an ugly package.

Also, keep an eye on amounts because some will write down that there is 18g of sugar per 100ml and other will put 18g of sugar per 200ml. If you look only at the number 18g, you’ll think that those juices have the same amount of sugar, so keep an eye on the quantity of product as well as the quantity of ingredient.

And if you’re having a trouble picturing how much is 18g of sugar, think that 1 bag of sugar that you usually get in a cafe bar with your coffee is around 4-5g.

So if you drink a glass of juice which is usually 200ml and it says that there is 18g of sugar in it, it’s almost as if you squeezed half an orange, added water and put 4 bags of sugar. Would you do that on your own?

Beware of the products that say ‘light’ or ‘less salt’ or ‘less sugar’ because they usually mean that they exchanged the amount of sugar (or salt or fat) with some other ingredient which may be healthier, but it also can be worse for your health.

There will be a lot of ingredients that you never heard of, but luckily we have smartphones now, so, google it, see what it is.

Seems like a lot of trouble?

It actually isn’t. Well, maybe just in the beginning till you find your favorite products which you’ll put on your kitchen stock list, but later on, it will be much less trouble and you’ll be happy to know what it is you’re actually eating.

And, after a while, you will notice that you lost a few pounds or that you generally feel better, just by switching the products you used to consume with their healthier options.

Another way to eat more healthy and lose weight without rigorous diets is to avoid processed food as much as possible and eat more home prepared meals.

Do you read the labels? What was your biggest discovery?

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