Are You in the Habit of Reading Food Labels?

imagesThere are two areas in my opinion that most of us can get better at and those are watching portion sizes and reading food labels. Let’s focus on food labels today. If you take a look at the food label on the left you can see a road map that you can start to follow. First look at serving size. If the serving size reads 2 servings for example and you ate the entire food item then you need to double the fat grams, sugar, calories etc. Second, always take a quick peak at total calories especially if it’s a snack. Most of us are taking in too many calories via snacks and they are turning into an extra meal. Spend time on step 3 especially keeping track of saturated and trans fats. I also look at total carbohydrate and fiber on each food label. I’m constantly aware of that CHO:Fiber ratio. My goal is to always keep that number less than 10. If it’s higher than 10 think twice about it – this label (Macaroni & Cheese) shows no fiber content and that number would be 31 and therefore I would not eat it. If for example, it had 5 grams of fiber that ratio (31:5) would be <10 (6.2). The other area I zero in on is right below fiber and that is sugar and then protein. The average adult takes in too much sugar. I put my self on an “added” sugar budget of <38 grams/sugar a day (about 150 calories). If you’re a female that number is about 25 grams/day (100 calories). I also look for foods with a high amount of protein. It takes more energy (calories) to break down high protein foods than carbs or fats. For every 100 calories of protein you consume, 30 calories are used up in the process of breaking it down. Finally a great nutrition app that I like to use is Fooducate, it gives each food a grade and let’s you know if there are processed items or GMO’s in that particular food.

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