Friday 16 November, 2018

Wellness with Natalie: Decoding nutrition labels

Real food over fake food all the time. And real food does not normally have a nutrition label that needs decoding. So eat real food first.  That’s my best advice here. 

But I get it, life is hectic and sometimes you are just going to grab something prepackaged and preprocessed to make life a little simpler.  Once that food you’re going to eat is coming in a bag and has a long shelf life you can guarantee there’s going to be stuff in there that you do not want to be eating. So here is what you need to know about labels.

They always get you with the serving size.  What you are thinking is a single serving bag of something that you’re going to eat and they think you’re going to share it with three others.  So always check the serving size.  

I know many people advise that you look at the calories, but I prefer to count chemicals instead of calories. So next stop ingredients label. 

The ingredients label is ordered with the highest quantity being listed first.  Knowing this you need to be on the look-out for the sugar - it’s hidden. They break it down in many forms of ‘ose’.  So you will see fructose, sucrose, maltose, lactose, dextrose.  All read….SUGAR. Oh! Before I forget….Avoid high fructose corn syrup at all costs. 

Also avoid anything that says hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated, this normally refers to oils.

Don’t drink it if it has carrageenan, it’s known to cause inflammation.

If you can’t pronounce it don’t eat it... unless it’s quinoa pronounce it keen-wah and eat It). You should be able to recognize the ingredients as food not chemicals. 

I suggest you also look out for “health washing” claims.  What does “All Natural” mean anyway?  Regulators are very lenient on the use of that claim, so keep digging if you really want to know what you’re eating.  “Source of fiber” only needs 2 grams per serving to be used.  “Low fat” means less than 3 grams of fat, but then check the sugar content because for fake food to taste good it either needs sugar or fat. Cholesterol free and sodium free don’t mean that there is NONE in there, it simply means it’s not a lot (2mg for cholesterol and 5mg for sodium). So if you eat an entire bag of chips with a serving size of 5 and 5mg of sodium per serving, even if the label says “Sodium Free” you just ate 25mg of sodium, that’s NOT sodium free.  And that “all natural” frankfurter could have been made from meat with hormones and be loaded with sodium.

Why not put a little extra time and effort to the most important thing you can do for your body and nourish with real food.

Natalie Murray is an Integrative Health Coach.  She runs individual and group detox programs, offers corporate wellness programs and maintains an individual coaching practice.  If you want to learn more about how working with a Health Coach can help you in making gradual sustainable shifts towards a healthier lifestyle visit www.natalie-murray.com or email her at info@natalie-murray.com.  Follow her in IG @nataliemurray.jm

This article is for information purposes only.  The information presented is NOT intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information.  The Information provided is NOT a substitute for professional care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem and disease.  You should consult your health care provider if you have or suspect you may have a health problem.