Do You Read Food Labels When You Shop?

Picture it: You, shopping for food in Anystore USA on Anyday of the week. You pick up a product you have been using for weeks, months, maybe even years. You put it directly into your shopping cart, confident that you have made a good choice. OR You, shopping for food in Anystore USA on Anyday of the week. You pick up a product that has a very “healthy-looking” label that screams all the great attributes of the product. You put it directly into your shopping cart, confident that you have made a good choice.

A great deal of money is spent on advertising – from the name of the company to the name of the product to the size, weight, and shape of the container. Then, the colors on the label to the pictures, and the words. All of this is designed to compel consumers to purchase their product. Grocery shopping isn’t usually the highlight of our lives. We shop on auto-pilot most of the time and rarely read the BACK of the package where there is more truth than on the front.

I don’t think that word means what you think it means!
“Natural” and “All-Natural” really don’t mean much, if anything. The FDA has no real rules to define what those words mean when describing food, ingredients, processing, or packaging.

“Light”, “Lite”, and “Healthy” are terms the FDA applies only to the fat content of a product. “Light” and “Lite” are used by some manufacturers to describe the color of a product. Foods that have a low fat content may be loaded with sugars or artificial sweeteners, such as cookies and snacks. Foods that have a high fat content may actually be healthy, such as avocado and nuts.

“Gluten-free” is an over-used buzzword. Many foods that never contained gluten are now advertised as “gluten-free”. This designation doesn’t mean that anyone with Celiac Disease is safe. The same goes for “Nut Free”, “Dairy Free”, or any other “free” related to food allergies or sensitivities. If the ingredient is not intentionally added to the product, it doesn’t have to be added to the list of ingredients. Processing plants and manufacturers are mandated to clean their equipment but there is no way to remove all the allergens. So, if a product has no mention of allergens or says “may contain”, it’s a good bet that there are allergens.

“Non-GMO”, “Organic”, etc. are words. It’s our job as the consumer to find the meaning.

Some labels announce great health benefits. “Made with real (juice, fruit, honey, etc)”, “naturally flavored”, “0% trans-fats”, “heart healthy”, “no salt”, “less sodium”, “vitamin fortified”, “no added sugar”, “excellent source of (vitamin, mineral, fiber, etc.), and so on are claims made on too many products. Credit for this amazing level of misdirection goes to the well-paid advertisers. Read the ingredients. Do the ingredients support the benefits hyped on the front of the label. Read between the lines? “Made with whole grain” may mean wheat, or corn, or rye, or barley, or oat – who knows?

Another misleading item on labels is portion size. Cereals typically show very large bowls of cereal – larger than the serving size listed on the box. Frozen meals often show an overflowing plate of food. Even though we know these are “not true to size”, we just don’t think it through.

Become an informed consumer – read and understand the labels.

     

Processed foods are not only unhealthy, they cause weight gain. There is less nutrition in processed foods, so we eat more to satisfy our nutritional needs eating far too many calories along the way. Artificial flavors, colors, and sweeteners are chemicals. We wouldn’t consider buying these chemicals and adding them to our recipes. Thickening agents, preservatives, emulsifiers, etc are more chemicals. Humans were never meant to consume these substances. Manufacturers remove vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients from “real” food during processing and then add them back artificially. Many of our foods are genetically modified so that pesticides, herbicides, growth enhancements, and disease and drought resistant elements are an inseparable part of the food. These chemicals and toxins damage our organs and alter our hormones causing weight gain. 

The best way to a healthy diet is to eat foods that are not processed or minimally processed and to know the country of origin. It’s a new way of shopping and eating, but your quality of life depends on it.

 

Heavy Metals in Our Baby Food?

 

There’s more than yams in that jar! Consumer Reports tested baby foods from several well-known manufacturers and found heavy metals in the food we are feeding to our most precious children.

It’s very concerning that “worrisome” levels have been found in many products and some are even considered “potential health risks”. Organic baby foods are no exception.

The FDA reminds us that some heavy metals are in the soil and, therefore, will be in the food. Nice thought! Some baby food manufacturer’s products contain very low amounts of heavy metals. Hmmm. That would infer that it is entirely possible to reduce the amount of heavy metals in the food.

Babies and children are at particular risk because they consume more food per pound of body weight than an adult and they’re growing.

Here’s what parents need to know about Consumer Reports’ baby food tests

Heavy metals accumulate in the body over time and can cause a wide range of health problems. Headaches, infertility, anxiety, memory problems, digestive problems, and autoimmune diseases are some of the symptoms of heavy metal overload. It’s very difficult to diagnose based on symptoms, but there are tests to determine the level of heavy metals in the body.

The Impacts of Heavy Metal Toxicity

Heavy metal overload can be treated, but the best course of action is PREVENTION!

If this concerns you, sign the petition!

The Skinny on Fats

Fat is a necessary part of our diet – but, How much is too much? 

 There is no magic number when it comes to fats.
 
Each gram of fat is 9 calories – no matter what kind of fat it is.
 
We get fats in our diets and our bodies make it’s own fat from extra calories.
 
Limiting consumption of fats to 20% – 35% is recommended by the Mayo Clinic for a healthy diet.


 

​GOOD FATS
  • Aid in the absorption of Vitamins A, D, E, and K
  • Prevent fatty acid deficiency
  • Aid in the production of endorphins
  • Aid in the transmission of nerve impulses
  • Aid in many other functions of the body

MONOUNSATURATED FAT & POLYUNSATURATED FAT

  • Fatty fish such as salmon, herring, sardines, and trout
  • Flax seed, walnuts, almonds, cashews, peanuts, pecans, and pistachios
  • Safflower oil, sesame oil, sunflower oil, olive oil, peanut oil (Canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil are unsaturated oils but are made from GMO crops)
  • Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds
  • Avocado
  • Peanut butter and almond butter
​BAD FATS
  • Clog arteries
  • Raise blood pressure
  • Cause obesity
  • Cause diabetes
  • Cause heart disease

 

SATURATED FAT & TRANSFAT

  • Beef, pork lamb, poultry skin, dark meat from poultry
  • Cheese, butter, lard, whole milk, 2% milk, cream cheese, cream, sour cream, ice cream
  • Coconut oil, palm oil, palm kernel oil, cocoa butter, stick margarine, some margarines
  • Fried foods
  • Most commercially prepared foods contain partially hydrogenated oils inluding crackers, cookies, pastries, microwave popcorn, snack foods
  • These fats can occur naturally, but are mostly foods from animals.

Know your fats and eat smart!

Who Is Responsible For The Fattening Of America?

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) 71.6% of American adults were overweight and obese in 2016. The numbers have been climbing for over 30 years. This has been called “The Obesity Epidemic” and obesity has recently been classified as a disease.
 

But who is really responsible?

There are no exact numbers for the amount of overweight/obese people in the United States prior to 1950. I’m certain some people were overweight, but there was no mention of obesity. In the 1940’s, the first drive-in restaurants became popular and fast food was becoming popular. By 1950, 33% of adults were overweight and 9.7% were obese in the United States. The numbers rose slowly and steadily until 1980. Through the 80’s and 90’s, the number of overweight/obese people in the US climbed sharply. Surely, drive-ins and fast-food establishments couldn’t be the only reason.
 
The 1980’s was the Me, Me, Me decade. We wanted what we wanted, and we wanted it now. Credit cards were becoming the way of life – buy now, pay later. And it seems that’s what we’re doing. The 1990’s was the electronic decade. PC’s, mobile phones, email, game systems all kept us sitting, glued to our screens. Exercise was something we scheduled time for (or not). We no longer walked to the arcade, the post office, or to a friend’s house. We played games on the computer with people across the country instead of in the street. Processed foods hit the market in record amounts. Meals were cheap and fast, eaten on the go, and the family dinner was gone.
 
In 1999, there was a meeting of the giants of the food industry – Pillsbury, General Mills, Nestle, Kraft, Nabisco, Proctor & Gamble, Coca Cola, and Mars – to discuss the obesity epidemic and how to deal with it. James Behnke, chief technical officer at Pillsbury, gathered these rivals in the industry to caution them about the possible backlash of the unhealthy and fattening foods they produced. Stephen Sanger, CEO of General Mills, made some valid points about our lack of exercise, our poor choices, and that the food companies were giving the consumer what they wanted. Many of the companies offered low-fat, low-sugar products for the people who wanted them. The companies also had a responsibility to their shareholders. Bottom line – money!

$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Billions of dollars have been spent on the science and technology of processing foods that make us want more and more and more. Salt, fat, and sugar are the key ingredients of processed foods that make them irresistible. A certain amount of sugar makes us feel the happiest, the amount of fat that makes our mouths water for more, and the salt for a burst of flavor, all combined in carefully and scientifically measured amounts to turn off our brains. Processed foods account for more than 70% of the food we eat.

Billions of dollars are spent on advertising and marketing these processed foods. What color package, what size, what price, and the language used to advertise are all carefully considered. Words like snackability, crunchy and melts in your mouth with cute and fun spokespeople like the M&M’s, the minions, cartoon characters, and movie characters motivate us to buy those brands. Eye-level marketing and marketing to children create more demand for the products. They’re tasty, they’re fast, they’re convenient, and they’re cheaper than cooking. That’s a lot to resist.
 
Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss, an investigative reporter for the NY Times, investigates the science and practices of the food industry in their efforts to control what we eat. While Moss doesn’t discuss the subject of obesity, he does explain the food industry’s responsibility for their part in the obesity epidemic. Moss says that, ultimately, the responsibility is the consumers.


We, as the consumers and the decision-makers, must take charge of our eating habits, exercise regimens, and purchasing power. Foods that are nutritionally packed to meet the needs of our body combined with intermittent fasting to reset appetite and insulin sensitivity can stop food cravings and help us lose weight.
 
For more information about nutritional cleansing for weight loss – drop us a line, or call 912-289-8085. 

We’d be happy to help you reach your goals.