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Robert J. Davis, Ph.D.

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Top 10 Food Label Tricks to Avoid in 2012

Posted: 01/ 3/2012 8:34 am

After overindulging during the holidays, many of us have resolved to eat a healthier diet in the new year. But doing so means choosing the right foods, and too often misleading food labels prompt us to purchase items that we think are good for us but really aren't. Here are 10 common labeling tricks to be aware of as you beef up your diet in 2012.

No Trans Fat
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On labels anything less than 0.5 grams of trans fat -- a "bad" fat that's been linked to heart disease and other conditions -- can be legally rounded down to zero. That means if you eat several servings of a so-called trans fat-free food -- or a few such foods a day -- you can wind up consuming measurable amounts of trans fat. To avoid it, check ingredient labels and steer clear of anything containing partially hydrogenated oils.

Robert J. Davis, PhD, is an award-winning health journalist whose work has appeared on CNN, PBS, WebMD, and in The Wall Street Journal. He is founder and editor-in-chief of, and teaches at Emory University's Rollins School of Public Health. He's the author of "Coffee Is Good for You: From Vitamin C and Organic Foods to Low-Carb and Detox Diets, the Truth About Diet and Nutrition Claims" and also the author of a previous book, "The Healthy Skeptic: Cutting Through the Hype About Your Health."