Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Reading Nutritional Panels

Have you ever wondered about the information on nutritional panels; why is protein important? should I cut out carbs? which fat is 'the good fat'? and what does it all mean?

Start by looking at the 'energy' numbers, in the 'per 100grams' column; this column is most useful for comparing products, as the 'per serve' measure varies across different brands and food types.

If you're looking to lose a serious amount of weight, say more than 10kg - 15kg, then the energy value of the food you eat becomes significant.

You should be looking to consume between 400 - 600 calories per meal, (x 3 meals = 1200 - 1800 calories per day) depending on your body type & weight loss goals.

The make-up of these calories is also important: protein builds muscle cells and keeps you feeling full for longer, so try to include it in every meal, but watch out for foods that are high in protein which also happen to be high in fat. (eg. nuts)

When looking at the fat content of foods, check the 'total' fat per 100g and aim for under 10g/100g; remember 10g of fat per 100g = 10% fat!

This is further broken down into 'saturated', 'trans' fats which are both REALLY bad for you, so avoid anything with the word 'hydrogenated' in the ingredients.

Carbohydrates are necessary for your body to function and they have gotten a really bad reputation over the last decade; for some, rightly so, (have you ever noticed that white bead makes you want to eat more... white bread?!?!), however, not all carbs are created equal.

The body converts carbs into glucose, the form of sugar it can best use, but it does this with simple carbs far more quickly, giving you a blood sugar spike (not good for your pancreas) and if this energy is not used up, it is easily converted and stored as fat.

Here's a good explanation of simple vs complex carbohydrates & why eating whole food matters.

Heavily processed foods have most of the nutrients and fibre removed & sometimes artificially added back. This is called fortification and often happens with breakfast cereals.

With global ill-health rising across the developed world, in no small part due to diet & lifestyle, this article was hardly a surprise.

It is a good wake-up call to start reading nutritional labels; specifically, you should check the total energy, protein to carbohydrate ratio, sugar and salt levels.

Always use the per 100 grams/100 mls column to compare across products and serving sizes.

The good news is, fresh fruits & vegetables don't come with nutritional labels.
A good rule of thumb is to mainly shop the fresh food sections, take a list with you, avoid the chips/lollies/soft-drink aisles completely (if it's not in the pantry, you won't eat it later) and get creative with your meals.

So start reading those labels, making wiser choices and enjoying the food you eat from the inside out. Happy training!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.