What Food Labels Really Mean
This can be as confusing as figuring out a puzzle with no picture! Hopefully this will clear it up for you :-)
Fat-Free You might think you’re making a healthy choice, but eating certain fat-free foods may cause you to gain, not lose weight. In a new study from Purdue University, rats fed potato chips containing Olean (a no-calorie, fat-free fat substitute) subsequently put on more weight than rats fed regular chips. More research is needed, but experts think fat substitutes may interfere with your body’s natural ability to regulate how much food is enough, causing you to eat more.
Gluten-Free If you don’t have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, think twice before ditching gluten: being gluten-free doesn’t automatically make a product better for you. Gluten-free products can vary greatly in the amount of fat, protein and other nutrients they contain. Some gluten-free breads have up to 13 times more fat and 16 times more protein than others, according to a recent study that compared 11 different gluten-free breads.
Whole Grain: A growing array of products from bread to potato chips proudly proclaim themselves to be "multigrain." While this may appear to be a synonym for "whole grain" or "whole wheat" -- which is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes and digestive problems -- it's not. It simply means the food is made from several grains, which may be whole or refined. Labels such as "12 grain" and "made with" whole wheat can be equally deceptive. To make sure the food is rich in whole grains, check the ingredients. The first one listed should contain the word "whole."
“All Natural” The "natural" label implies that a food contains no artificial ingredients and is therefore more wholesome. But often that's not the case. The FDA has no strict definition of the term, and many packaged foods claiming to be natural contain added chemicals and other substances. The USDA, which regulates meat and poultry, has a more precise definition (no artificial ingredients and minimally processed), but it still allows for some additives. In addition, it's permissible to slap a "natural" label on meat and poultry from animals raised with antibiotics or hormones.
Sea Salt Though sea salt may sound like something that's natural and benign, it offers no clear health advantages over table salt. By weight, both contain about the same amount of sodium, which is what poses a health risk. Unlike table salt, sea salt can contain trace amounts of minerals such as magnesium and copper. While these can add extra flavor, the levels are too low to pack any real nutritional punch.
Use Himalayan Salt Instead Here is why: Containing all of the 84 elements found in your body, the benefits of natural Himalayan Crystal Salt include: Regulating the water content throughout your body. Promoting a healthy pH balance in your cells, particularly your brain cells. Promoting blood sugar health and helping to reduce the signs of aging. Assisting in the generation of hydroelectric energy in cells in your body. Absorption of food particles through your intestinal tract. Supporting respiratory health. Promoting sinus health. Prevention of muscle cramps. Promoting bone strength. Regulating your sleep -- it naturally promotes sleep. Supporting your libido. Promoting vascular health. In conjunction with water it is actually essential for the regulation of your blood pressure. "Supports a Healthy Immune System" A growing number of products imply that they can boost immunity and ward off illness. But there's typically little or no evidence for such claims. This deception is permitted because of a loophole in labeling rules. By saying that a food "maintains" or "supports" normal functioning (such as a healthy immune system, blood pressure or cholesterol levels) instead of explicitly stating that it can treat or prevent a condition, manufacturers don't have to provide any proof. As a result, any claims that use this type of sneaky language are best ignored.
"Omega 3" Studies show that fish oil is good for the heart, and many products from mayonnaise to peanut butter have added omega-3 fatty acids, the key ingredient in fish oil. But these foods typically contain a form of omega-3s known as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which comes from plant sources such as flaxseed and canola oil rather than fish. The health benefits of ALA are not nearly as well documented as those of fish oil. Plus, the amount we get from some products may be too low to provide any benefit. You're better off getting your omega-3s from fish such as salmon.
"Serving Size" Perhaps the biggest trick of all is unrealistic serving sizes listed on the Nutrition Facts panel. Because we often consume more than these amounts, we wind up getting more calories, saturated and trans fat and sodium than the label indicates. Especially misleading are snacks and beverages from vending machines or convenience stores that seem to be single servings. Often the fine print reveals that they contain two or three servings, making them even less healthful than they appear. Just another reason to always read before you eat.
"Organic" The evidence is inconclusive as to whether organic produce is more healthful than the conventional kind, but even if it is, an "organic" label on packaged foods is no guarantee that they're better for you. Organic products, which tend to be significantly more expensive than their conventional counterparts, can be just as high in salt, sugar or calories, low in fiber and devoid of nutrients. What's more, they may legally contain non-organic ingredients.
FIBER: To boost their fiber content, many packaged foods contain added fiber with names such as inulin, maltodextrin and polydextrose. While these count toward a food's fiber total, they haven't been proven to offer the same health benefits as the naturally-occurring fiber found in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Plus, inulin can cause gastrointestinal discomfort. To tell whether a product contains these inferior forms of fiber, check the ingredient list. Women need 25 grams a day Men need 35 grams a day
My personal favorite fiber, "The Boost" and i add it right into my shakelogy!
Non-Organic Yogurts and rBGH and rBST
Non-organic yogurts generally come from dairy cows that have been given growth hormones rBGH and rBST to boost milk product. Unfortunately these also boost the level of another hormone called insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1), which has been tied to breast, colon, and prostate cancers in some human studies. Many yogurts also contain artificial food colorings and sugar substitutes or high-fructose corn syrup and have little protein, making them less satisfying. Eat instead: Organic Greek yogurts, such as Stonyfields Oikos (recently renamed Stonyfield Greek), mean no hormones plus more filling protein and less carbs than most non-organic yogurts. For natural added sweetness, top with fresh organic berries to avoid the dangerous pesticide residues or GMOs found in non-organic fruit.
Diet Soda To most, the word “diet” equals weight loss. But diet soda may not be holding up its end of the bargain. Researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio recently found that people who drank two or more diet sodas daily had a six-times-greater increase in waist circumference at the end of the 10-year study than those who didn’t drink diet soda at all. Those bigger waist sizes may be due to the “I saved here, I can splurge there” theory of dieting, says researcher Sharon Fowler, M.P.H. Or perhaps the artificial sweeteners in diet soda stoked diet-soda drinkers’ appetites, as other research suggests.
Trans-Fat Free Since 2006, the FDA has required food manufacturers to list reportable amounts of trans fat on the Nutrition Facts label. But here’s the thing: food manufacturers don't have to report the trans-fat content if it's less than 0.5 gram per serving. So check the ingredients list for the terms “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated vegetable oils” even if the Nutrition Facts label reports 0 grams of trans fat.
Well there ya go! Now you can get to shopping with more confidence!!!