What Does Healthy Look Like to You?

by - July 11, 2017

Reading Food Labels

Reading food labels can be tricky.  There is so much for me to post on this subject that I plan on breaking it down into two post for now.  Maybe more in the future.

When I shop for food I ALWAYS read the food labels and the list of ingredients.  As a rule of thumb I first look at the calories per serving and then at the serving size.  For example, I buy 'Quinoa and Black Bean infused Tortilla Chips' from Trader Joe's that have 140 calories per serving and a serving size is about 8 chips.  This makes it easy for me to know what size snack I can have, for example 16 chips with organic salsa is under 320 calories and great snack.  

Well, that is if the rest of the ingredients are healthy too.  So I then go looking for the amount of sodium in the food I am buying.  I try to keep my sodium intake under 1,500 milligrams per day.(recommended by the American Heart Association).  For reference most Americans intake about 3,400 milligrams of sodium per day (not good).  But this can be tricky as sodium or salt can be hidden in a couple different words; sodium nitrite, sodium benzoate, disodium and monosodium glutamate (MSG).  My Trader Joe's tortilla chips have 50 milligrams per serving do 100 milligrams for my 16 chip snack (good).

Next I go looking for the amount of sugar in the food I am buying.  Sugar is hidden in words like; corn syrup, high-fructose corn sryup, agave nectar, dehydrated cane juice, cane juice, barley malt syrup (often blank juice or blank syrup is sugar), dextrose and fructose.  I keep my sugar intake under 20 grams per day.  The American Heart Association recommends women not go over 25 grams of sugar per day and men not go over 37.5 grams of sugar per day.  My Trader Joe's tortilla chips have no sugars in them do that's great.  

Now I head down to the list on ingredients to see how many ingredients on the list I can identify and understand.  For example my Trader Joe's tortilla chips ingredients list reads; 

Simple, there is nothing that on this list that most people won't be able to understand.  So yes, these chips are a great snack!  Obviously not as great of a snack as bowl of spinach and tomatoes in an organic vinaigrette, but great for what they... chips!  One very important thing to know about ingredient lists is that the ingredients are listed from highest content to least content.  Meaning this bag of chips has a relatively large amount of 'stone ground white corn' and a small amount of 'trace of lime'.  (large to small amounts).  While all ingredient lists a listed like this (large amount to small amount) they are not always so so easy to read and understand.  To not make this post a never ending post I will continue right here, where I left off, in my next 'What Does Healthy Look Like to You?' post.  
To be continued...  

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