by admin on February 4, 2013

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  1. The first thing to know and the most important is that ingredients are listed on food labels in order of quantity. This means if sugar is the first ingredient then the product is mostly sugar. If deionized water is then it is mostly water.
  2. Don’t be fooled by “snack size” bags because it makes products appear healthier because it lowers the percentage of sugar, salt, transfats, in relationship to daily value.
  3. Average Americans consume well over the recommended daily amount of 2,400 mg of sodium. Sodium amounts are clearly listed on labels, but  serving sizes will increase sodium intake.
  4. Be aware of sugars and sugar substitutes. Products like sucralose, saccharin, aspartame and acesulfame have been proven to be more damaging to the body than regular sugar.
  5. High fructose corn syrup is not the same as sugar. Forty percent of all sugars used in processed foods come from HFCS, which is problematic and poses great dangers because of the way humans metabolize it. Stay away from foods with HFCS.
  6. With regard to transfats to protect yourself …. Stay away from foods that state they contain “partially hydrogenated oil” since this is how trans fats are listed.
  7. The top eight “food allergens” (milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy and wheat) and they are now listed on food labels.
  8. Be aware that when a label states they have lowered fat they have typically increased the sugar content.
  9. Actually, the Percent of Daily Values (% DV) for sodium is 2,300 milligrams but nutritional experts know that 90 percent of Americans should eat much less than that to decrease risk of stroke, kidney disease and high blood pressure.

10.When choosing fats; the goal is to choose foods higher in unsaturated fat (monounsaturated fat, polyunsaturated fat), lower in saturated fat, and with no trans fat.

11.You can always escape the dangers of labels by eating a diet comprised of fresh, minimally processed foods.

12.Pay attention to Product expiration dates.

13.Teach your children how to read food labels. This can help math skills: for instance if a label states: cereal has 12 grams of sugar, since there are four grams in one teaspoon; you would divide 12 grams by 4 and your answer is 3 teaspoons or 1 tablespoon of sugar PER serving. On a daily basis, it might be best to find a less sweet cereal for better health for your child. It is also good to teach your child why one needs nutrients and calories. Explain the importance of protein for growth, calcium for strong bones and teach, iron for healthy blood, vitamin A for good eyes, and vitamin C to help heal cuts and scrapes. Putting it in “their” language and relevance to their life helps.

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