Nutrition Facts labels are a quick and effective way to maintain your nutritional goals and verify exactly what is found in the processed products you consume. Nutritionist and best-selling author of The Plan, Lyn-Genet Recitas, says that reading labels is also a preliminary step in informing us about how what we eat affects our body chemistry. In The Plan states that an effective diet goes beyond verifying calorie consumption. Recitas argues, with some controversy, that the chemical reaction to each food is individual and that there are no universally good foods. "You have to know exactly what you eat to know if it does you good or not, to know in detail how your body works," he says.
These are some recommendations so that you do not complicate yourself and you can make informed decisions that benefit your system and yours with the best possible nutrition.
Note the order of the ingredients. In all products the ingredients are organized in order of quantity from highest to lowest. What appears first in the list is what contains the most. Some nutrition activists suggest that eating something that has more than five chemical ingredients or components that you cannot even read is an unnecessary risk. "You must be able to pronounce everything on the labels, if you can't say it, you probably won't be able to eat it," says Recitas. According to the guidelines of The American Heart Association (AHA) it is important to read the list because some ingredients such as sugars, sodium and saturated and trans fats that in excess can cause health damage appear under different names.
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Check the serving size. "We need to be realistic. Unfortunately the portion sizes on the labels are not standardized, and they are a quick and easy way to make people believe that they are consuming fewer calories than they are actually consuming,”emphasizes Recitas. All the nutritional information on the label is based on one serving of the food and most products contain more than one serving. It is important to check how many servings are in the package and how big each serving is. This way it is possible to know if the cup of cereal you eat is the same size as the cup of cereal that is on the list, and if yours is double, because you know that you are eating twice the calories and nutrients.
Check the amount of sodium. Salt appears as "sodium" on the nutrition facts label. A small amount of sodium is needed to help certain organs and fluids work properly. According to the AHA, healthy adults should consume less than 1,500 mg of sodium a day. That equates to a little more than 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Recitas recognizes that most people eat too much salt, sometimes unknowingly, because many processed foods are high in sodium, even when they don't taste "salty." For example, sliced bread, ramen noodles, and certain breakfast cereals. "Sodium is one of the biggest causes of fluid retention, and in excess, a contributor to inflammation that causes disease in the body," he adds. The AHA recommends looking at natural sodium and added sodium.Common salt appears as sodium chloride. Sodium has many names like sodium benzoate and disodium. Two of the most common are sodium nitrite, which is used to preserve meat and fish and control bacteria, and monosodium glutamate (MSG), a flavor enhancer added to canned goods, pickles, and Chinese food. According to Recitas, it is important to avoid MSG because it has recently been considered a cause of allergies and excess weight.It is important to avoid MSG because it has recently been considered a cause of allergies and excess weight.It is important to avoid MSG because it has recently been considered a cause of allergies and excess weight.
Eye with az úcares. If you are buying something that puts sugar as the first ingredient, it is better to think twice. There are two types, those that are naturally present and aggregates. Having a record of the sugar consumed is important because excess is linked to health problems such as obesity, diabetes and various cardiovascular problems. According to the AHA, it is important to review the ingredient list and make sure that “none of the first four are“added sugars”such as sucrose, fructose, glucose, maltose, dextrose, high-fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, evaporated / dehydrated cane, concentrated fruit juice and honey”. Recitas recommends avoiding artificial sweeteners completely because they cause water retention and carbohydrate cravings, and are also linked to the development of Type 2 Diabetes.She recommends natural sweeteners like agave, maple, and honey.
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Find fats under other names. There are three types of fat on the label: total, saturated and trans. Fats have a high calorie component, so if you want low weight, watch this component. Saturated and trans fats raise the risk of high cholesterol, heart disease, circulatory problems and strokes. The AHA recommends limiting your saturated fat intake to less than 7% of your total calories. Trans fat is even more problematic and its consumption should be limited to less than 1%. Watch out for ingredients that have hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils because this is another name for trans.
Look at the place of origin of the products. It is recommended to consume local products because they are fresher and because doing so consumes fewer environmental resources such as gasoline to transport them, electricity to maintain them, etc. In the same way, because you do not know the quality procedures and the standards of other countries to collect and cultivate them. "If we don't let our children play with toys from China, why should we let them eat Chinese foods that come loaded with pollution and heavy metals like mercury and arsenic? These components remain in the body, cannot be processed and cause disease,”says Recitas.
Avoid GMOs and genetically modified products (GMOs). The controversy over whether consumers should be informed if a product has been genetically modified or produced in a laboratory is still under discussion. "In our research for The Plan, we have found that GMOs affect the endocrine system, thyroid, and adrenaline-producing glands, which help us live stress-free. 30 years ago no one had allergies, we have observed that GMOs contribute to the increase in allergies and many diseases of the immune system. Consuming these products is like saying to yourself, 'I want to get fat, I want to have attention problems and get sick,'”says Recitas.
Buy org anic. This is also an open discussion, however many of the food activists defend the consumption of organic products as much as possible. Recitas comments that in her research she has observed that pesticides affect hormonal function, especially the thyroid. "In the beginning, organic products, that is, those grown without chemical pesticides, had much higher prices than their counterparts, but that has changed," says Recitas. “Now it is possible to have a balance between the budget and buying organic. For example ten years ago it was impossible to find Kale. Now Costco and Walmart sell it, at very reasonable prices. Just like hormone-free chicken. There are many ways to find organic food, you can even ask for it from Amazon”, adds Recitas.To know what products to buy organic, the nutritionist recommends the database of the Environmental Working Group (EWG.org), where the “Dirty Dozen” lists are published, which are the twelve foods with the most pesticides that it is better to buy organic and “Clean Fifteen”which can be consumed in any way.