It?s obvious that we should be eating ?real food?. ?I?m talking about fruits, vegetables, meats, and nuts. ?These are the foods that nourish our bodies, giving us the best opportunity to live a healthy life.
But you know, it?s unreasonable for me to expect either you or I, to eat only fresh foods. ?It would be ideal, but it’s unrealistic with the typical lifestyle that we live. ?Sometimes we have to buy packaged foods that have been processed.
Here?s the thing though, it?s always a good practice to be an educated buyer whenever you buy anything. ?Food labeling?on the front of food packages are misleading, and at times it can lead you to believe you are eating something healthy.
Now look at this. ?This is nothing but a play on our desire to eat healthier while fully taking advantage of our addiction to sugar. ?Who needs organic gummy worms, gluten and fat free. ?
Warning:? Don’t fall victim to slick marketing.
In order to prevent this miseducation, I think it?s in our best interest to learn how to read food labels and develop an overall awareness of what you?re putting in your body.
Food Nutrition Label Reading 101
Let?s start from the top. ?I’m going to?take a typical Nutritional Facts label and break it down section by section. ?In no time you’ll be reading food labels the correct way.
Let’s start with a box of Cheerios. ?A common choice for breakfast in which I think we all?can relate.
No. 1: ?Serving Size & Number of Servings
Okay so here goes…Section 1. ?This section allows you see the serving size and how many servings are in a box of cereal. ?I’ve also taken the opportunity to post a few pictures of an actual serving size. ?I want you to get a good idea of how small a serving size can be. ?
No. 2: ?Calories
Society has told us to count calories and only calories. ?We know that calories are important, but it’s not the ultimate metric to use to determine the nutritional value of food.
For example avocados are high in calories, but in the same breath have a higher nutritional value than eating a bag of potato chips. ?So it’s important to track calories, but let’s not forget?that we are trying to consume the proper nutrients, not restrict calories.
So back to the Cheerios, in this particular section we have 110 calories per serving. ?Take a look to the right, go ahead and add 150 calories with a 1/2 cup of skim milk.
So now that you’ve taken into account the serving size and the calories per serving, you’ve gotta ask yourself, how many calories are you really eating?
I can tell you that 1/2 cup is not enough for me. ?I don’t eat cereal much now, but I would eat about 3 servings per bowl. ?And I may have 2 bowls to be honest with you.
No. 3: ?Buyer Be Aware (the bad stuff)
Section #3… Be aware of this section. ?We’re looking at our Fats, Cholesterol, and Sodium. ?We can see how many grams of each category that we would be eating in this bowl, and we can also see what we’re eating as a percentage of the standard 2,000 caloric daily recommendation. ?Your caloric intake requirement could vary depending upon your needs, so don’t use that as a baseline for your caloric needs.
In the Total Fat section, remember fats can be a good thing. ?We need the right amount of fats, primarily polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats. ?We’ve discuss the benefits of fats before, but just be mindful, processed foods can contain a high amount of saturated and trans fats.
No. 4: ?Get The Good Stuff
This part shows the nutrients that you want in your body. ?As you can see the labeling lists different vitamins as well as the amount of protein and carbohydrates per serving.
The thing to watch here is the amount of sugar that’s in the package. ?The government has recently issued recommendations to lower our sugar intake because of it’s link to obesity. ?Here’s the link check it out when you have some time. (link)
No. 5: ?The Footnotes
Last but not least. ?The footnotes that no one ever reads, but here it is for you if you care. ?It simply gives you a recap on what you just ate and states that the percentages given are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
The Verdict on Cheerios…
No, Cheerios are not healthy, let’s eat something else for breakfast. ?Cheerios are classified as?a highly refined carbohydrate. ?Refined carbs elevates your glucose levels which contributes to weight gain, and also over time will cause type 2 diabetes.
The typical breakfast centers around refined carbs, waffles, hash browns, cereals, and sugary fruit juices. ?I suggest we choose some better foods for breakfast.
Foods such as oatmeal, almonds, walnuts, leafy greens, eggs, etc. etc. ?There are other foods, but my favorite thing to eat for breakfast is oatmeal, eggs with some ground turkey, a couple of slices of avocado, and a cup of coffee.
Remember our goal is to eat whole fresh foods and lean meats. ??Processed foods have tons of additives in the package and often more calories per serving. ?Eating processed food requires you to read more labels and decipher with an educated eye what you should and shouldn’t be eating.
So here it is my spill on nutrition label reading.
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Thanks folks, and eat well!!
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