Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Dreaded Food Label

Let me start with a little technical information. Reading food labels can be REALLY confusing, especially if you have never done it before. If you want to know the in’s and out’s of the food label then check out the FDA’s website about it. It can be really helpful. For now I am just going to talk about some other important things you should look for when you are reading food labels. I believe it is common knowledge that you want to eat food that is low in fat, high in protein and fiber. But if you didn’t know that, now you do! But that is too simple. There are other things you need to look out for like sugar and sodium. Sugar hides in your food with many different names, here are some you may not have heard before.

1) High Fructose Corn Syrup
2) Maltodextrin
3) Dextrose
4) Xylol
5) Maltose
6) Malt
7) Isomalt
8) Hydolyzed (rice) starch
9) Syrups
10) Honey
11) Sorbitol
12) Maltotal

Also be aware of sodium content. A lot of canned goods, soups, crackers etc are packed with salt. If you buy your vegetables in a can, try them fresh or frozen then they don’t include salt! Also when buying frozen vegetables you want to make sure the ONLY ingredient is the vegetable. Some companies add all sorts of chemicals you don’t know. The Rule of thumb is, if you can’t pronounce it you don’t want to eat it. I know that can be hard to avoid, but when it comes to fruits and veggies it is a must!

When reading the ingredient list for foods try and have the first five ingredients things that you know and that you would cook with at home. Be aware of enriched or bleached flour (even whole wheat) it is losing all its nutritional value when it has those words in front of it. Lastly... NO TRANS FATS!!!

This was a breif overview of some of the things I try and avoid, but through my other posts we will discuss the benefits of fiber, how to tell if whole wheat products are really whole wheat, and how to know if the "low fat" or "low carb" versions are actually better for you.


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