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Read it First

Posted by Sherri Sacconaghi, August 12, 2011


The box says it is low fat so it must be good for you, right? Don’t be fooled by tricky marketing and pretty packaging. If you really want to know what is in that box, you have to read the labels.

Phrases like “High Fiber”, “low sodium”,” no trans fat” and “made with organic ingredients” only tell part of the story. Many of the foods you find in the grocery isle advertise healthy aspects to their product, but it is what they aren’t claiming that you need to watch out for.

When you go to the grocery store I always suggest you stay on the perimeter of the store, where the fruits, vegetables, meats and dairy are located. With those items it is a little easier to decipher what the healthy choices are. When you venture into middle isles of boxes and bags, plan a little extra time to read the labels, to ensure you are getting the healthiest choice on the shelf. Here are some things to look for on those labels:

Serving Size: This can be deceiving so pay attention. All of the nutritional info on the label is based on the serving size NOT the whole package. So out of a bag of potato chips a serving size is generally 1 oz or 15 chips and a serving of ice cream is ½ cup not how much you can fit in the bowl.

Calories: A calorie is a unit of energy. If a food is particularly high in calories, steer clear. When it comes to losing weight , you need to expend more calories than you consume. Know how many calories you should have in a day to maintain a healthy weight.

Saturated Fat: Many manufacturers have taken out much of the trans fat, but they have replaced it with the just as harmful, saturated fats. Saturated fat can raise bad cholesterol and increase a person’s risk for heart disease. Keep it at less than 10% of your total calories for the day.

Sugar: It is in everything. Sugar is a major culprit to our obesity epidemic in America. While it is naturally occurring in fruit and some dairy, it is often added to breads, cereal and yogurt at a very high rate. Sugar is also disguised as Corn syrup, honey, rice syrup, molasses, fruit juice concentrate, and anything ending in “ose”. And if it says High Fructose Corn Syrup, throw it back on the shelf and run.

Sodium: We should be consuming between 1,500 and 2,300 mgs a day but most Americans consume much more, leading to high blood pressure, stroke, osteoporosis, and kidney damage. As an example, one pickle contains 1,900 mgs of salt so be extra mindful in this area.

The most important thing you can do when it comes to eating healthy is to be aware of what goes into your body. Read the labels. It may not be as entertaining as the gossip magazines at the checkout line but it is better for you.


Article by: Sherri Sacconaghi
Certified Health Coach and Personal Fitness Trainer
Ph: 503 621 7549
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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