How to Read Nutrition Facts ?
On the previous page we talked about why exactly sugar is so bad for you and why it is the reason why so many of us are overweight. On this page we will look at processed food products in particular> We look at what’s in it and why we should avoid them. We will also talk about how to read labels. Very important, because only if you know what’s in it, you can decide whether you should eat it or not. Now, reading labels seems to be very complicated but with the right app on your phone it actually isn’t. Still, the food industry tries very hard to make it as confusing as possible. Dr. Maya Adam of Stanford University shows us in a short video here below what to pay attention to.
Dr. Maya Adam - Stanford University
In Short the Video's Content
The Ingredients List
You might usually not read the ingredients list of a product. A pity because there are 2 important things to say about it:
- the first ingredient on the list is in weight the most predominant one. In other words: the ingredient that makes up the most of the product’s total weight will appear first, followed by the next, and so on. So, at the end of the list is the ingredient with the least weight.
- the best products are those with only a few ingredients with names you understand. Having this said; look at the two different brands of soy sauce and think about which one is the best product?
Ingredients: water, soybeans, salt,
Ingredients: Water, salt, soybeans, sugar, wheat flour, caramel color, disodium 5'-inosinate and disodium 5'-guanylate as flavor enhancers.
Which soy sauce would you buy?
Two random products
Which one would you buy?
Reading Nutrition Facts
Now it's time to look at How to read Nutrition Facts Labels. Not so long ago this was so difficult, that you almost needed a university degree to understand what was written on these labels. Fortunately, from January 1st, 2020 it has become a bit easier. But it's still a matter of caution. Especially when it comes to serving size.
Take, for example, the product on the right: Bush's Best Honey Sweet Baked Beans. The serving size is half a cup which is not very much and certainly not enough for someone who is very hungry. However, the producer still has this serving size on his website. So, if you eat a whole cup of beans, you will also get twice as many calories.
Below you'll see a few products. Click on the Nutrition Facts Label next to one of these products to find out how many calories you'd take in if you'd eat the amount you're used to.
While doing this, also check how much sugar and salt (sodium) they contain. You will be surprised how much of the "Daily Value" you'd take in when eating these products. Some of them, like cupcake icing, have sugar for obvious reasons, whereas with baked beans, cereals, peanut butter, soup, cheese macaroni or lasagna it is a miracle why sugar had to be added. From January 1st. 2020 the amount of added sugar must be on the label.
You want to see your numbers?
Just click on the nutrition labels.
Honey Sweet Baked Beans
from Bush's Best
3.5 servings / can
Ingredients: Beef Stock, Onions, Water, Dehydrated Onions, Potato Starch, Contains Less Than 2% Of: Salt, Yeast Extract, Vegetable Oil, Sugar, Monosodium Glutamate, Flavoring, Caramel Color, Beef Flavor (Contains Beef Stock, Yeast Extract), Hydrolyzed Yeast Protein, Enzyme Modified Cheddar Cheese (Cheddar Cheese [Cultured Milk, Salt, Enzymes, Calcium Chloride], Water, Disodium Phosphate, Enzymes, Natural Flavoring (Milk), Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Beef Fat, Citric Acid, Potassium Chloride, Dextrose, Lactic Acid, Hydrolyzed Wheat Gluten.
French Onion Soup
2.5 servings / can
Ingredients: Prepared White Beans, Water, Sugar, Brown Sugar, Honey Cured Bacon, Salt, Honey, Mustard (Vinegar, Water, Mustard Seed, Salt, Natural Flavor), Modified Food Starch, Onion, Caramel Color, Spices, Garlic.
BBQ Sauce Original
from Bull's Eye
Ingredients: Tomato Puree (Water, Tomato Paste), Sugar, Molasses, Vinegar, Salt, Contains Less Than 2% of Modified Food Starch, Natural Smoke Flavor, Mustard Flour, Dried Onions, Spice, Dried Garlic
Creamy Peanut Butter
Ingredients: Roasted Peanuts And Sugar, Contains 2% Or Less Of: Molasses, Fully Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils (Rapeseed And Soybean), Mono And Diglycerides, Salt.
Ingredients: Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate [Vitamin B1], Riboflavin [Vitamin B2], Folic Acid), Sugar, Dextrose, Soybean and Palm Oil (with TBHQ for Freshness), Graham Flour, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Cracker Meal, Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup Solids, Whey, Contains Two Percent or Less of Cornstarch, Molasses, Cocoa Processed with Alkali, Leavening (Baking Soda, Sodium Aluminum Phosphate), Milk Chocolate (Sugar, Chocolate, Cocoa Butter, Milk), Honey, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Salt, Lactose, Modified Corn Starch, Soy Lecithin, Dried Egg Whites, Gelatin, Color Added, Xanthan Gum, Vitamin A Palmitate, Niacinamide, Reduced Iron, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Thiamin Hydrochloride (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Folic Acid.
Ingredients: enriched macaroni product (wheat flour, niacin, ferrous sulfate [iron], thiamin mononitrate [vitamin b1], riboflavin [vitamin b2], folic acid), cheese sauce mix (whey, milkfat, milk protein concentrate, salt, sodium tripolyphosphate, contains less than 2% of citric acid, lactic acid, sodium phosphate, calcium phosphate, with paprika, turmeric and annatto added for color, enzymes, cheese culture).
from Hamburger Helper
Enriched Pasta (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Ferrous Sulfate, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Corn Starch, Sugar, Salt, Tomato*, Monosodium Glutamate, Low Moisture Part Skim Mozzarella Cheese* (Part Skim Milk, Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzymes), Basil, Natural Flavor, Whey, Parmesan Cheese* (Part Skim Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes), Citric Acid, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Spice, Roasted Garlic*, Oregano, Buttermilk, Color (Yellows 5 & 6, Yellow Lakes 5 & 6, Red 40 Lake), Cheddar Cheese* (Cultured Milk, Salt and Enzymes), Sodium Phosphate, Calcium Lactate, Silicon Dioxide (Anticaking Agent), Garlic*, Lactic Acid, Yeast Extract. *Dried.
This is an "interesting" one: Kashi Go Lean Cereal. The good stuff is shown in big letters on the packaging: proteins, fibers and whole grains. But in tiny letters the nutrition label mentions 8 gram sugar per 58 gram serving. That is 13.8% !!!!!
Original Cereal from Kashi
Ingredients: Kashi Seven Whole Grain Honey Puff Cereal (Hard Red Wheat, Brown Rice, Honey, Cane Syrup, Barley, Triticale, Oats, Rye, Buckwheat, Sesame Seeds), Degerminated Yellow Corn Flour, Expeller Pressed Soy Grits, Ground Degerminated Corn, Cane Syrup (Molasses), Expeller Pressed Soy Protein Isolate, Oat Fiber, Wheat Bran, Expeller Pressed Soy Flour, Corn Bran, Kashi Seven Whole Grains & Sesame Flour (Whole Oats, Hard Red Wheat, Rye, Brown Rice, Triticale, Barley, Buckwheat, Sesame Seeds), Salt, Natural Flavors, Annatto Extract Color.
Ingredients: Prepared White Beans, Water, Sugar, Brown Sugar, Bacon, Salt, Honey, Mustard (Vinegar, Water, Mustard Seed, ,Natural Flavor), Modified Corn Starch, Onion Powder, Caramel Color, Spices, Garlic Powder
Ingredients: High Fructose Corn Syrup, Water Tomato Paste, Vinegar, Molasses, Modified Food Starch, Apple Cider Vinegar, Contains Less Than 2% of Salt, Natural Hickory Smoke Flavor, Mustard Flour, Spice, Honey, Dried Onion, Potassium Sorbate.
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The truth about fats
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Guidelines for a Low Sodium Diet
both facts and tips
The Big Book of Low-Sodium Recipes shows you how to create hundreds of heart-healthy dishes that help you control your sodium intake. From hearty breakfasts like Egg Sausage Sandwiches to mouthwatering plates like Beef and Bean Enchiladas, each page offers meals that are so tasty, you won't need to give up your favorite flavors. With more than 500 delicious recipes to choose from, you'll transform every meal into a low-sodium one with easy-to-make plates like:
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