Read The Label

Fat trimmedA friend of mine brought some wonderful crackers to work for us to share for lunch. They had all kinds of seeds in them and I could have 16 crackers as a serving and stay under my “bad” carb limit of 15 carbs. But when she told me they had no fat, I was sceptical. The label on the front of the box said  “No Trans Fats” but there was fat in the crackers. Some of it was even saturated fats. Labels can be so misleading.

Food labelI’m teaching the Foods and Nutrition 12 course again this year and I can’t emphasize enough the reading of labels and recipes. We discussed what was on labels and how to read the nutrition words and numbers on the side of a package. The nutrition label starts by telling you how big a serving is. then it tells you the calories per serving. Then it breaks it all down into the good and bad bits.

I realized that food manufacturers were playing to our fears and stretching their marketing ploys to include all the healthy and diet buzz words to suck us in. Words like fat-free, as in  low-fat, lower sodium etc. Hershey has “fat-free” cocoa. Sigh, any cocoa is fat-free. If it has fat in it, it is chocolate. I’m surprised that we haven’t seen “fat-free” on those little sculpted carrots. “Lower sodium” means just that – lower salt than their regular product but it may not be low enough for a sodium restricted diet for those with high blood pressure.

eat healthyOne of my students pointed out to me that the  500 ml (16 oz) bottle of Coke had fewer calories than the regular 355 ml(12 oz) bottle of Coke. I asked the class to read the label again and the bigger bottle said it has two servings and the smaller bottle said it only had one,  but the servings were different sizes – thus different calorie counts.

More sighs – I wish sighs burned as much fat as walking does.

Well, we read labels and recipes and articles about diets and “get healthy” plans. But we are the ones who have to choose what is right for us. We need as much information from our doctors, nutritionists, friends and the internet as we can get. For example, 1 serving of a “large” pizza can be 350 calories if there are 8 slices but what if there are only 6? Or 12?

Times-Colonist Dec 5, 2013

Times-Colonist Dec 5, 2013

It’s knowledge and label reading that will help us be healthy. Portion control, listed on the label or in the Canada Food guide, is the key to how many calories, how much fat and sodium, and amount of carbohydrates and protein we take into our bodies.  But we also have to aware of the marketing that is sucking us in to buy things we think are good for us but are just a little bit healthier than the old versions. Look out for blue labels, words like “lite” or lower. And vegan, organic, gluten-free don’t mean they are lower in calories, fat or salt. YOU need to know what amounts you need of each nutrient so your day-to-day eating will help you be the strongest, healthiest you can be.

Thanks for listening. ;D Diane

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~ by 1fatgirlshrinking - Diane Kirby on February 8, 2014.

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