You are what you eat. Knowing this motivates us to provide our families with wholesome nutritious food. But let’s face it, that’s no easy task. Grocery store shelves are lined with brightly colored labels shouting “low fat,” “low sugar,” and “low calories!” Taking labels at face value makes consumers think that foods which can pose a health risk are actually good for them.
How Food Products are Marketed
Marketed? Yes, brands pay enormous amounts of money to get their products in to your shopping cart. This can mean employing less than forthcoming methods to attract consumers. Sadly, the result is often misleading food labels. So how can you learn to navigate through food labels to provide your family with quality nutrition?
Marketers know that people want to make good food choices. You will never see a bag of chips labeled: “Loaded with fat!” Here’s the ugly truth: By US FDA standards, brands can legally claim low-fat if each serving has less than three grams of fat. Herein lies the deception. Most serving sizes are tiny – two cookies or 6 chips (much less than what the average person will consume). We leave the store feeling pretty good about our low-fat choice, but when kids sit on the sofa and eat 12 cookies out of the box, that healthy choice goes out the window.
The Low-Fat Trade-off
True, there are naturally low-fat foods. For example, fruit is low fat. However, when you see a low-fat or fat-free label on processed food, it should set off a warning signal. Low-fat processed foods are rendered low fat by trade-offs that are anything but good for you.
When fat content decreases, preservatives increase so taste doesn’t suffer. Often sugar, salt, high fructose corn syrup or other food additives are used to keep food tasty. Sugars and other additives increase calories to low-fat foods, and often lead to unhealthy blood sugar spikes. Check your food’s nutrition information to find what the trade-off is.
How Low-Fat Can Backfire
Foods that replace healthy fats with sugars leave us feeling hungry. Sugars are processed by the body faster than fats. The result? We eat more! If we eat foods claiming to be low-fat but find ourselves hungry due to the high sugar content, we’re working against our weight loss goals.
Fat Can be Healthy
Being obsessed with fat intake can be dangerous. Not getting enough healthy fats will prevent your body from properly absorbing the necessary nutrients found in your food. Balancing the right types of fat in your diet is crucial to proper nutrition.
Satisfy your body’s cravings for fatty foods with natural, healthy fats. Avocados, olive oil, almonds, salmon, and flax seed are all excellent sources of healthy fats. Being balanced in our fat intake is necessary to good health, but eating healthy fats can revolutionize your diet.
The best food options cannot be found in in a box. Yes, it takes more effort to cook healthy foods from scratch, but your family’s health is worth the investment. Choose whole foods, natural fats, and sugars and you will see your family’s health prosper.
Here at Atlas we view nutrition counseling as an integral part on the road to healthy living. We’re happy to help with diet and lifestyle changes for your entire family. Contact us today!