It can be scary when you turn the can, box, or package around and search for the list of ingredient and see the nutritional value chart isn't it? Does it make you question your food choices? Does the value chart just seem like a bunch of gibberish? I hope this entry will answer any questions you may have about the words that come with your food choices. I hope too that this will encourage you to go check your cupboard and see what it's inside. (I did! I took pictures too and I was surprised!)
So let's get back to the Helping you care for your cholesterol - the good-start guidebook...reading the ingredients list and reading the nutritional value charts....
The ingredients list shows all of the ingredients in a food. It can help you find healthier choices and avoid certain ingredients if you have a food allergy or food intolerance. Ingredients are listed by order of weight, from the most to the least. So a food contains more of the ingredients that are at the beginning of the list, and less of the ingredients that are towards the end of the list. Read ingredients lists often because food products can change without notice.
TIP: At the grocery story this week
- look for foods that show whole grains at the beginning of the ingredients list
- avoid buying foods that contain hydrogenated oils, partially hydrogenated oil or vegetable shortening-these ingredients are a clue that the food contains saturated and/or trans fats.
- watch for ingredients that end in the letters "-ose" such as glucose-fructose, dextrose, and sucrose - these ingredients are different types of sugar
- remember that ingredients such as soy sauce, celery salt, garlic salt and monosodium glutamate (MSG) all contain sodium.
Read nutritional labels
While you're at the grocery store, look for the Nutrition Facts Table on packaged foods, which shows the calories and nutrition information for a specified amount of the food.
First of all, look at this amount of food and ask yourself whether this is the amount you would typically eat. For example, if the amount listed is 1/2 cup (125 mL), but you typically eat 1 cup (250 mL), then you need to double the calories and nutritional information on the label.
Next compare the nutritional information of different brands of foods. Choose foods that have few calories along with less fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, and sodium and more fibre.
Finally, look at the % Daily Value (% DV) for different nutrients. As a general rule of thumb, 5% or less % DV means the food contains a"a little" of that nutrient; 15% DV or more means that food contains "a lot" of that nutrient.
TIP: compare food labels to make healthier choices
- look for foods that contain 3 grams or less of fat per amount of food listed - this means that the food is low in fat
- look for foods that contain 20mg or less of cholesterol per amount of food listed - this means that food is "low in cholesterol"
- compare the fat content of soft, non-hydrogenated margarine with butter, - notice the difference in the fat, saturated and trans fat content
- compare the fibre content of two of your favourite types of breakfast cereal. - pick the one that has a higher % of DV for b ibre and a lower % DV for fat, saturated fat and trans fat
One thing I learned while reading the labels and value charts was that even if a food is high in fat or cholesterol...remember the serving size is only a suggestion...you can cut the serving size in half and that will lower the counts by half as well. You don't have to give up on the things you enjoy because their values are high...cut back on the serving size and still enjoy the foods you just can't live without...for me it's chocolate :) what is yours? Get smart about your food labels and mange your health...this is something that is fully in your control to change...the only question I have is will you make the healthy changes for you?