How do you read NUTRITION LABELS...so you know EXACTLY what you are eating?
We "MOMMIES" should all know how to read and understand labels- we need to know what we ARE and what we ARE NOT putting in our children's mouths. In a perfect world- we wouldn't be putting anything in our families mouths that had a nutritional label.
We would be eating WHOLE foods from our garden or local farmer's markets.
But unfortunately- life isn't that easy!
When you google this question- the FDA's website is at the top of the results list. I looked on their site and they have A LOT of information regarding this subject. THEY HAVE 9 PAGES WORTH!
QUESTION: Why does the standard NUTRITION FACTS label have to be so complicated that it takes 9 pages of information to understand it? How many America's have taken the time to read this information? Believe me, to fully understand where the numbers come from on LABELS- you really do need to read it.
QUESTION: Does our government make the information on the NUTRITION FACTS label as EASY as possible to understand?
QUESTION: Would there be any benefit to the food industry if the NUTRITION FACTS label was complicated- and somewhat misleading?
Believe me- the Food industry benefits HIGHLY from our countries NUTRITION FACTS label!
FORTUNATELY- Even though the label is confusing- there is a fun and easy way to read it (and you don't have to read 9 pages to understand it!)
I love sharing these SIMPLE TOOLS on how to truly read and understand NUTRITION LABELS. I received some of these TOOLS from JEFF NOVICK (director of Health Education for the National Health Association). Check out his WEBSITE here. Jeff is such a smart and entertaining dietician and nutritionist. If you ever have a chance to hear him speak- check him out for sure!
Once you get these tools down- you will have so much fun reading labels. You will be shocked about how MISLEADING most of them are!
Along with sharing these fun tools, I will also be sharing some of the information I found on the FDA's website- just to show you how misleading the label truly can be.
First and foremost: Never EVER believe anything on the front of ANY product!
(I will write more about this later)
There are 4 foods that we American's eat too much of in packaged foods:
FAT / SODIUM / REFINED "WHITE" SUGARS / REFINED CARBOHYDRATES
We are going to set guidelines for each of these foods.
PART 1: FAT (my favorite tool!)
How much FAT does a human body need?
Our bodies really only NEED 3-5% of our calories from fat to survive (not thrive- but survive). AND this fat needs to be from essential fatty acids (EFAs).
In our country- the average intake is ~35% of calories from fat (and out of this 35% most people are not even getting enough of the good fats (EFAs).
Where should we be at when it comes to fat? There is A LOT of experts out there.
THE LOW FAT GROUPS= Recommend ~10%-15%:
The HIGH FAT GROUPS= Recommend ~30%-35%:
Show the longest living people eat 15% - 20% of their calories from FAT-almost entirely from vegetable origin. ("Healthy at 100" by John Robbins)
No matter what group you most belong to- I like to take Jeff Novick's advice on FAT:
Go right down the middle=
For packaged foods- choose foods that have 20% of their calories from FAT (or less)....
AND...make sure that the FAT doesn't come from
the "BAD FATS":
|IMPORTANT NOTE: SINCE WE HAVE BEEN GETTING HEALTH GUIDELINES IN AMERICA, ALL HEALTH GUIDELINES HAVE ASKED US TO LIMIT FAT AS A % OF CALORIES.|
SO...QUESTION OF THE DAY: WHY does every product label in America list FAT by weight???
DO YOU THINK IT MIGHT BE THIS WAY TO CONFUSE US?
Actually- if you look at the LABEL below- you will see 3 different values for FAT in this product.
You see: 12 g, 110 and 18%. So which one do you look at?
The FDA wants you to look at the 18%. So you would say to yourself..."18% doesn't seem that high? This must not be a high fat product."
When in reality- this product is almost 50% FAT!!!
Let me show you how:
Here is a glass of water. By itself- this water weighs 750 grams and has 0 CALORIES.
Now add 1 TBS of OIL to the water, the oil weighs 14 grams and has 120 CALORIES.
So- if you drink this beverage now...it is 100% FAT- because all the calories are from FAT.
HERE IS WHERE THEY TRICK YOU:
When you look at FAT in regards to WEIGHT (like the FDA), this beverage is
ONLY 2% FAT. (14/750=2%)
The food industry likes to advertize this type of product as 98% fat free.
But it is actually 100% FAT!!!
(Add SALT and SUGAR to this "beverage" and you have the recipe for most lowfat salad dressings in the supermarket)
Does this make you mad? That the Nutrition FACTS information can be so misleading?
ALWAYS LOOK AT THE CALORIES FROM FAT ON THE NUTRITION FACTS LABELS. YOU WILL HAVE TO DO SOME EASY DIVISION TO DETERMINE THE % OF CALORIES FROM FAT. (wouldn't it be nice if the label did this for you? It would make it much too simple if it did that) MAKE SURE THAT IT HAS 20% OF CALORIES FROM FAT OR LESS (AND DOES NOT CONTAIN ANY OF THE BAD FATS)...AND YOU ARE GOOD TO GO!
There is a product is almost every home in America that advertises itself as FAT FREE...when it is actually 100% FAT. Do you know what this product is? I will reveal the answer in my PART 2 blog on SODIUM.
Next time you go to the supermarket- have a little fun looking at how much FAT is really in products!