I have been meaning to blog about this for awhile now. Last week, I went to the Barnes & Noble in White Plains to get myself a cup of coffee. It's a cafe so they sell little treats that you can indulge in. I typically don't stare for too long since that only feeds into my cravings but something caught my eye. A little box resembling an ice cream carton filled with Chocolates that are made to taste like ice cream (Looked just like the one below)
Anyway, I picked it up, turned it around, and read the Nutrition Label. Serving Size: 1 . . . ok, read on . . . SATURATED FAT . . . WHAT? . . . umm am I seeing this correct? . .. 95% of your Daily Value!
YES . . . 95%
Typo or not, my eyes and my stomach were in complete disgust. If I ate that box of no more than four truffles I would be consuming 95% of my daily allowance of Saturated Fat. That's ridiculous.
So, it made me think of my current ACE studies and the fact that many people STILL don't read nutrition labels and if they do, they don't really understand it.
I will attempt to break it down for you, quickly and efficiently:
This is a Nutrition Label:
Serving Size and Servings Per Container: One package is not necessarily a serving. Marketers have gotten very clever with packaging and servings. Many times, something as "small" as a bag of chips contains two servings. This means that if you eat the full bag, you need to multiply all the information on the label by two to get the correct values.
Calories: If you are overweight or want to lose weight, then you need to cut back on your calorie intake! Check out the calories PER SERVING in your food choices to see how it adds to your daily total. Typically, nutrition labels are based on 2,000 to 2,500 daily calorie diets. 3,500 calories equals ONE pound. Best practices say that if you want to lost one pound a week, you should cut your daily intake of calories by 500 calories or burn off 500 calories a day. I say, do both.
Carbohydrates are our body's number one source for energy. There are four calories per gram of carbs in food. Carbs are bread, potatoes, fruits and vegetables. Just because your body likes carbs, doesn't mean you should eat that whole cake! Vary your carb intake by adding more fruits and veggies on your plate.
Proteins are your meats and legumes. They also account for four calories per gram. Eight of 10 of the essential amino acids in Protein cannot be produced by the body, yet the body needs it, so it must be consumed by foods. Soy is the only complete plant protein. The other complete proteins are from animal product. Therefore, you should choose your proteins wisely. Adding combinations of grains/legumes (like rice and beans) are great protein choices to ensure you get everything you need, especially if you aren't a big meat eater like me. If you do enjoy your steaks and chops, then go for lean meats, and eat fish and poultry more frequently.
Fats have the most calories per gram . . . a total of 9. Like Carbohydrates, fats are used as an energy source. Not all fats are bad fats but Saturated and Trans Fats are the ones always discussed and even listed separately on a nutrition label because they can lead to clogging of the arteries, increased risk for heart disease, and higher levels of LDL cholesterol, the "bad" cholesterol. Rule of thumb: Eat less of it!
Cholesterol: Too much of it can lead to heart disease. Try to eat less than 300mg a day. Very important to keep this in mind when choosing your proteins. Many meats can be high in cholesterol.