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When it comes to packaged foods, you can’t believe everything you read. “Healthy” “Low Fat” or “Carb-Free” – sounds great, right? Not so fast! Don’t blindly trust marketing tags like these. The more labels on a package and the bigger the ad campaign, the more toxic the food usually is for you! Reading Food Labels and Ingredients is the only way to know what’s really in the food you’re buying. I’m going to teach you how to read food labels so that YOU are in charge of what you’re putting in your body.
[Portion Sizes] [Sugar] [Salt] [Flour/Carbs] [Fat]
How much should you eat? Dr. Ileana Vargas breaks it down for you clean and simple as she discusses this important question with a group of Energy Up! Girls.
Look at serving sizes and total number of servings on packages. Many snack foods are packaged to look like one serving, but they are actually 1.5 or even 4 servings! In this example, a “Big Grab” Bag of chips that consumers happily eat by themselves, contains not 1, but 3 servings. What does that mean? You have to multiply everything by 3. So,
- the total number of calories is not 140, but 420;
- total fat is not 6g, but 18g,
- total sodium is not 160g, but 480g.
Make sure you look at the number of servings before eating the entire bag!Many manufacturers of cookies and snack foods have started making “100 Calorie” and portion control snack packs. These are “better” bad choices unless you have a trigger food issue.
obesity to adult on-set diabetes to heart disease!
- Hidden sugars are listed as corn syrup (THE WORST form of sugar), high fructose corn syrup, molasses, honey, maple syrup, beet sugar, etc. in the ingredients. This food is likely to be a trigger food if you have a problem with sugar.
- Watch for added sugars in ketchup, tomato sauce, cereals, jams, jellies, beverages, candy bars, breakfast bars or canned fruit.
- Rule of thumb: If any form of added sugar is listed in the first 3 ingredients – Bad News!
- Want to eat something sweet? Have some pineapple, or a mango!
*Yes, there may not be any fat in the cereal, but sugar is converted into fat by your body.
*13 g of sugar is OVER THREE TEASPOONS of sugar. Helloooo?! Considering you probably eat more than one serving…
Example 2: Fig Newtons
- Take a look at this snack pack of Fig Newtons. Everything about the box leads you to believe they are THE healthy solution to snacking - “100% Whole Wheat, 100% More Real Fruit,” etc.«
- Take a CLOSER LOOK at the ingredients. After Figs, the next three ingredients are Sugar, Corn Syrup and High Fructose Corn Syrup. That translates into SUGAR, SUGAR and more SUGAR. Puh-leeze! How much sugar do you need in a cookie??
- The average American consumes about 2.5 tsp (4000 to 4500 mg) of salt (sodium) per day. The recommended maximum per day amount of salt/sodium is 1 tsp (about 2330 mg). Your body actually only needs 600mg (1/4 tsp) per day. Salt-free seasonings, such as Mrs. Dash or McCormick’s make eating salt-free tasty and easy.
- Watch for the high sodium content in canned soups, frozen foods and canned vegetables. Many canned soups have over 800mg of sodium per serving and at least 2 servings per can. That’s over 1600mg of sodium! That’s just insane!
- Don’t be fooled, salt is addictive too!
- Carbohydrates are an important nutrient for exercising muscles, but all carbohydrates are NOT created equal.
- A “GOOD CARB” is one without any sugar added. Think potatoes, fruit, chickpeas (hummus is made from these), veggies, beans and beets and whole grains. (Watch out if whole grains are a trigger food for you.)
- Watch for breads that have corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup added to them. Even some “Whole Grain” “100% Whole Wheat” breads, crackers and snacks do.
- GOOD FATS are called Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated. These fats are found in olive and peanut oil, nuts, avocados, fish, and corn.
- Let’s talk about BAD FATS, aka Saturated and Trans fats. Saturated are found in whole milk, butter, cheese, ice cream, red meat, chocolate, and coconut oil.
- Trans fats are THE WORST! They’re found in most fast foods, most commercial baked goods, crackers, cookies and fried food.
- "Bad Fats” can lead to heart disease and stroke. The Centers for Disease control actually predicts that you may not outlive your parents! That’s pretty scary and it can be avoided by simply changing what you eat!
- Our bodies don’t store protein so it’s important to eat protein daily.
- Best sources of protein are lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans, nuts, dairy products.
- All proteins have basically equal benefit, so choose a variety!