Hello everyone! I’m Julie from over at ROJ Running and I was honored to have Susan ask me to do a guest spot for her blog.
Many people try new diets and new exercises every day or week or month, but in my opinion most do not stop to consider basic changes they can make to their diet without ever joining a club or program. Today I present “Eight tips for reading food labels”. Hopefully they will lead to increased energy (both from the start of your day and during), decreased body fat/inches and increased happiness.
8 Tips for Reading Food Labels
- Check the first 5 ingredients. If any of them are sugar or a code word for sugar, chances are it’s not too healthy
- For grain items, you want “Whole Wheat” not “enriched” whole wheat or anything other modified form. Those are still processed and not as good for you
- Check fiber content. If there isn’t at least 3g PER SERVING, it’s not any better for you than the original form
- Verify the serving size. The candy bar you’re eating or the pop you’re drinking may be 2-3 servings in its package. Also verify the math, while 1 serving may be 100 calories, the whole bottle may be listed at 230 (30 more mystery calories?!?!)
- Fat content high? Look closer to see why. Is it because of saturated fats? These will be your fats from animal products, be cautious of these as they can negatively affect your cholesterol. What about trans fat? Those are also evil fats and should be limited as much as possible. Unsaturated fats (mono and poly) are the good fats. Do not be afraid.
- Limit sodium intake, a lot of foods may not seem like they would include sodium aka salt, so be careful. Too much salt can lead to bloating and issues with blood pressure.
- Calorie Free or Sugar free may not mean a zero amount!! In the US if something is lower than 5 calories per serving, manufactures can label it as “Calorie Free”. Example: The difference between Coke Zero and Diet Coke. Diet Coke has trace calories. Sugar free is anything lower than .5 grams per serving.
- “Reduced” or”Less” seems appealing? Did you know to use the label the product only needs to have 25% less than the original? Pretend you have a product with 100g of fat. If a new version has 75 grams the box is allowed to write “Reduced Fat”. Tell me, do you want to eat something with 75 grams regardless if it’s less than the first version?
Did any of these tips surprise you? Did you find any to benefit you on your next trip to the store?
Here are a few more words of advice, although not label specific. A typical person needs a minimum of 1200 calories a day simply for their body to function. If you’re watching what you eat and you’re limiting yourself to only 1,000 calories per day, there is a vital organ or process not getting the energy it needs. Please be aware of what you’re eating and how active you are too! If you’re running, biking, swimming, or even walking the dog eat MORE than those 1200 or else you’re still robbing something important of its energy source.
By the way, not all calories are created equally. While the simple math of 100 cals in and 100 cals out may lead to maintaining weight, 100 cals of sugar is not used the way 100 cals of carrots will be used.
Don’t simply eat “smart” eat “informed”.
Thanks for allowing me to share these tips with you. Remember I am NOT a doctor; please check with your medical professional before stopping or starting any new diet or exercise program. Feel free to stop over and visit me at my blog, on Facebook or through Twitter. You could also always drop me a line at Julie@ROJRunning.com.