As I’ve become more aware of what I’m eating and what I’m feeding my family, I
have to confess that I have come to prefer going to the grocery store WITHOUT
my kids. My kids know enough to look and see if something has high fructose corn syrup in it and know I’m not buying that, but I am consistently explaining to them why something that says “Whole Grains” or “Sugar Free” isn’t necessarily a good thing. They don’t get it – to them, those sound healthy!
What the food industry put on their packaging can be confusing at best, misleading at worse. They can give consumers a false sense of eating healthy; leading them to eat more processed and packaged foods – which ultimately lead to a slew of health issue that our nation is facing right now. Here’s what some of those fancy healthy sounding phrases REALLY mean:
- Fortified, enriched, added, extra, and plus = nutrients such as minerals and fiber have been removed and vitamins added back in during processing. Look for 100% whole-wheat bread, and high-fiber, low-sugar cereals.
- Fruit drink = probably little or no real fruit and a lot of sugar. Look for products that say "100% Fruit Juice", and consume in moderation. Even better, eat a piece of fruit instead.
- Made with wheat, rye, or multi-grains = have very little whole grain. Look for the word "whole" before the grain to ensure that you're getting a 100% whole-grain product.
- Natural = the manufacturer started with a natural source, but once it's processed the food may not resemble anything natural. Look for "100% All Natural" and "No Preservatives.”
- Organically grown, pesticide-free, or no artificial ingredients: Trust only labels that say "Certified Organically Grown” and look for the USDA seal.
- Sugar-free or fat-free: Don't assume the product is low-calorie. The manufacturer compensated with unhealthy ingredients and, here's the kicker, have no fewer calories than the real thing.
- The term “whole grain” is allowed to be used very loosely. The nutrition value of flour made from whole grain is quite different from when you eat the grain in its entirely – such as when you cook quinoa, brown rice, or millet.
Another important thing to know is that the food companies themselves have come up with logos that they use to “certify” the healthiness of their food ie: PepsiCo’s Smart Choices Made Easy logo or Kraft’s Sensible Solutions. The criteria for these labels are created solely by the company trying to sell you that food product, so the standard may not be what you think it should be.
Feel free to contact me to learn more!
Claudia Reshetiloff is a certified holistic health coach, working with
people to help them reach their health goals such as reducing stress or weight,
gaining energy, and feeling younger. She will help you create a completely
personalized “roadmap to health” that fits your unique body, lifestyle,
preferences, and goals through integrated and simple nutritional and lifestyle
changes that produce real and lasting results. Claudia works primarily with
women over the age of 30 who find themselves ready to recommit to their own
health, recognizing the impact it will have on their family, friends, lifestyle
and overall joy. Sign up for a free consultation at www.healththatfits.com!