It’s a simple trick that can only take seconds yet could have a profound influence on your weight: reading the nutrition labels on the food you eat.
A study by the US’s Centres for Disease Control has revealed that women who pay attention to food labels have an average Body Mass Index (BMI) of 1.49 lower than women who don't examine the nutritional value of their meal.
That comes to about a 3.6kg difference.
The results came from over 25,000 data points from the National Health Interview Survey conducted in the US. Seventy four per cent of women reported that they pay attention to food labels, compared to only 58 per cent of men.
While Caucasian women who read nutrition labels showed the greatest difference in BMI over their non-reading counterparts, at about 1.76 points.
Men, on the other hand, seem to have little benefit from scrutinising packets.
The difference in BMI associated with label-reading for a typical American male was just 0.12 points.
The findings, however, don’t take into account factors such as genetics and exercise.
But none the less it’s important to read the labels, not only for the weight-loss benefit but also to know what exactly you're putting into your body.