The ingredient list on packaged foods is similar to a recipe in that it tells you what's in the food. Knowing how to read the ingredient list is a helpful tool in many ways, including weight management.
Foods with more than one ingredient must have an ingredient list on the label. Ingredients are listed in descending order by weight from most to least. For example, a bottle of fruit juice that lists apples as its first ingredient means it has more apples in it than any other ingredient.
Knowing how to read the ingredient list is also useful for people with special food needs such as:
- A food allergy, such as peanuts or eggs, or a food intolerance, perhaps to lactose or sulfites or a food sensitivity to artificial food color
- Cultural or religious preferences, for example, those who avoid pork, shellfish or other meat for religious reasons
- Vegetarian, including vegans, who choose to avoid foods made with ingredients from animal sources