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Natural Awakenings Washington DC Metro

Label Reading for Weight Loss

Dec 31, 2016 08:48PM
By Gwyn Whittaker, CEO GreenFare
Imagine eating as much as you want, whenever you want, without gaining weight. Using the whole-plant food lifestyle, you can get to an optimal weight and stay there without calorie counting or portion control. The secret is learning to eat only ingredients with no nutrition labels (fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans) and to carefully read labels on the products that you do use to minimize ingredients that cause food addiction and weight gain: salt, sugar and especially, fat.

Health comes not from what you eat, but what you don't eat, and so taking harmful ingredients out of your diet will allow your body to restore its proper operation. Filling your freezer and pantry with the right convenience foods will enable your success with this lifestyle.

First and foremost, don't believe anything on the front of the package and go quickly to the nutritional label to decide whether a product is nutritional or junk.

For example, the terms 100 percent natural” and “all-natural” are meaningless. They are not regulated and used as a marketing ploy to sell products. Investing in your health with USDA certified-organic products ensures that you are not getting harmful pesticides or genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Many people who believe they are allergic to gluten are actually allergic to the pesticides used to harvest GMO crops and so they remove nutritionally important grains from their diet under the belief that the culprit is gluten. Wheat is the staff of life, that is, unless it's been saturated with glyphosate, which can cause gastrointestinal distress.

Secondly, read the nutrition label to ensure that calories from fat are 20 percent or less than the total calories. For example, if the calories per serving is 160, then the percent calories from fat should be no more than 28 percent. If you take animal products out of your diet, and do not exceed this 20 percent calories from fat threshold, you will lose weight rapidly.

Third, review the sodium content in milligrams. The amount of sodium to maintain health (as advised by the World Health Organization), should not exceed 1200 mgs per day. This is roughly equivalent to the number of calories to sustain weight: if you do not exceed the sodium in milligrams by the number of calories, you will not experience the hypertension that results from processed or restaurant food where about 70 percent of most sodium is consumed.

Fourth, look at the list of ingredients and ensure that sugar is not one of the top three ingredients. Sometimes, manufacturers split sugars into multiple types of sugars to make it seem as though the product is healthy. For example, if cane sugar is the fourth ingredient and molasses is the fifth, then don’t buy it. Together these ingredients would move the sugar content into the third position. Reviewing most boxed cereals in this manner will change your perspective of whether they are nutritious.

A few additional rules: do not buy products with ingredients that you don't recognize and with as few ingredients as possible. Soy milk for example, can be found with just “filtered water and soy beans” in the ingredients list, but other soy milk products will have a long list of additives. Continue reading labels even when you know the brand, as many of the more health-focused companies are being acquired by Big Food and ingredients list change for cheaper ingredients with longer shelf lives made possible by salt and oil.

With this arsenal of knowledge, it is very possible to shop for convenience foods that are canned, boxed or frozen, to make quick and easy nutritious meals.



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