Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

If you are what you eat, as the saying goes, reading the ingredient list on packaged foods can give you pause.

Some foods are laced with dozens of ingredients with complicated names that sound like they belong in a chemistry lab, not on your plate. Some list ingredients that belie the claims made on the front of the package. Consider just two examples:

  • A food that trumpets itself as containing whole grains may have more sugar than grains.
  • A food that promises to be trans fat free may in fact contain up to 0.5 grams of partially hydrogenated oils, a source of trans fats, in the ingredient list.

"Ingredient lists are a good way to know exactly what packaged food contains," says Christine A. Rosenbloom, PhD, RD, professor of nutrition at Georgia State University. "But the first important thing to remember is that the ingredients are listed in descending order of predominance. The first two or three ingredients are the ones that matter most. Ingredients at the bottom of the list may appear in only very tiny amounts."

Here's what the experts say to look for:

The Word "Whole" as in Whole Grains

Especially for breakfast cereals, crackers, pasta, and breads, the word "whole" should appear as the first or second ingredient, whether whole wheat, oats, rye, or another grain. One way to double-check is to look at the fiber content on the nutrition facts panel. Whole-grain foods should deliver at least 3 grams of fiber per serving and ideally even more, according to University of Pennsylvania family nutrition expert Lisa Hark, PhD, RD.

Hidden Sugars, as in Fructose, Sucrose, Dextrose

More and more packaged foods are sweetened with a baffling array of sugars, which add calories without boosting nutritional value. Ingredients that end in the word "ose" are all forms of sugar, as are honey and corn sweeteners.

A recent study at the University of California, Davis showed that these sweeteners had a similar metabolic effect to other forms of sugar. Still, all sweeteners add calories but few nutrients, and they can contribute to weight problems.

To know exactly how many grams of total sugar a product contains, check out the nutrient facts label. Four to 5 grams of sugar is the equivalent of a level teaspoon.

Eating Healthy in Restaurants:

Follow these ordering tips to ensure you eat healthfully when you dine out.
View slideshow