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Food Labels

Twelve. The number of grams of salt you could be consuming daily just from processed foods, when the daily recommended amount for adults is set at just under six. Though where and when do you even know if the daily recommended amount applies to you. The majority of people would be quite surprised to realize that daily recommended amounts aren’t just a vague estimation, but for the most part are way off to what our bodies actually need and what our bodies can actually process for our optimal individual health.

From what we can gather thus far there are 3 major body types, plus variations of the 3, as well including our hormone levels, diet & training, etc. All of which easily prove we are all quite unique, so the guides may be used as a base, but one still needs to customize their individual nutrition, in order to best meet their dietary needs. There is no one authority when it comes down to nutrition, though many would want you to believe that’s not the case, when trying to increase profit by selling their new hype diets/products. So basically as trivial as it may sound:

√ – Don’t Believe Everything You Read! — For example the package claim “made with whole grains” that appears on labels of processed foods such as cereals, crackers and breads isn’t regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). So to actually get in your whole grains you must physically read the ingredient list, looking out for products containing 100% whole grain. Ingredients are listed from most to least, so whole-grain wheat or oats should be No. 1 on the list and stay away from products listing enriched wheat flour, meaning refined white flour.

√ – Be Aware That Labels Aren’t Always 100% Truthful — Most if not all food labels have marginal errors, though some present such inaccuracy it’s almost criminal. A small independent lab testing some products for Good Morning America found, through their research, that for the most part accuracy isn’t much of a priority. A few products fared ok, however other products had over 20% more fat content than what was listed, one even being over 70% higher! Providing misleading information to consumers isn’t considered illegal, as the government allows foods to contain 20% more unhealthful nutrients than the label lists, before they would even take action against them. “No fat” means none, but “zero fat” means up to half a gram. So keep watch and basically your best bet is to stay away from prepackaged and processed foods and adopt clean eating, then you’ll soon be on your way to optimum health.

√ – Calorie Counts Require Mindful Understanding — Fast-food and chain restaurants are more commonly providing the calorie content of their dishes on menus and websites, though once again to rely on the accuracy isn’t always in your best interest. Researchers at Tufts University (Medford, MA) discovered that on average the calorie-content info given by the restaurants was 18% less than the researcher’s calorie-content analysis, with some dishes exceeding the reported calorie info by a whopping 200%! The major problem here is the insane discrepancy between the portion size used to base the calorie-content info on and the oversized portions that are actually being served. All in all, deep down, we all want to make healthy choices for the majority of what we consume, especially when trying to keep fit, so always be mindful of where and who you get your nutritional info from, pay attention to portion size and make sure to remember that clean eating will always constitute the most accurate and truthful choice out there.

References:

1. MMI No. 337; 2010 Dec: 194-202