08 Mar What does it all mean?
I think I speak for many of us when I say that grocery shopping as a kid wasn’t nearly as exciting as it has become in recent years. For other shopping trips, some people prefer to run in, grab only the things they need and leave. But groceries…food…is very different. There’s always something new to discover, or try, and when you’re lucky enough to be living in such a diverse community, the possibilities are endless!
As you grow up, however, you learn that grocery shopping has become much more of a game of What Doesn’t Belong rather than simply buying food for the week. Not only has the meat and fish industry had the veil lifted on their unethical standards, but even agriculture, your fruits and vegetables, the things that are supposed to be good for you, have been tainted with pesticides and GMOs and hormones; all of these factors jeopardize the nutritional value of our food.
With that being said, it is important that you know what is going into your food, what those weird ingredients are that don’t sound like anything close to being edible and how to properly understand those over-simplified nutritional labels. Thanks to Physiomed, we have a few tips to make sure you’re making the right decisions when it comes to your food.
The label itself is pretty standard, but it’s important to know what each aspect of it means exactly. It’s also important to be aware of the serving size that the information is based on. It won’t do you any good if you’re seeing 200 calorie on a cookie box thinking that it’s four cookies and not just one. The calorie count on food labels will show you the amount of energy in the item while the rest of the content will reflect the sugar and sodium content, two things that may be higher than you expect on foods that are marketed as being the ‘healthy alternative’.
What does it all mean?
Aside from the numbers, it’s also important to make sense of the serving size versus the levels of vitamins, minerals and sugars. The vitamins are indicative of what you should be taking in on a daily basis, so be sure to consider the percentages as well. The values are based on a 2000 calorie per day diet, which is the average recommendation, but health conditions, age, gender and weight can change that. Also make sure you’re aware of what the ingredients are.
What you don’t want
Now although the list of nutrients and vitamins is based on what you be taking in, things such as saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol and sodium are recorded in order to ensure you’re making healthier choices. This content should be relatively low or at least consumed within moderation. A silent enemy is the sodium content in foods, which the daily recommend intake is 100-1500 mg per day, however, studies have shown that the average Canadian actually consumes nearly double this. Be sure to ration out your meals in order to keep a balanced diet suited to your individual needs.
For more information on reading the nutrition labels, make sure to visit Physiomed’s blog here!