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food labels



5 Things to Know About the New Food Labeling Laws

movie-popcorn

Late last week the Food and Drug Administration made a huge announcement that basically holds more businesses accountable for the calories in the food they choose to serve. The new food laws, which falls under the Affordable Care Act, will absolutely affect you; expect to know how many calories are in that tub of popcorn at the movie theater, for instance.

Let’s break down the most important changes you will notice next year.

1. All major businesses will need to display their calorie counts. 

Some big cities are already held to this standard, like New York City. But the FDA’s new laws will require any establishment that sells prepared food (and also has more than 20 locations) to display its food’s calorie information. A one-stop independent bakery will not be affected, but your local and booming coffee purveyor that’s become a chain will not be exempt.

2. Calories will be on the menu. 

Calorie content will appear on menus and menu boards in restaurants, though bakeries, coffee shops, pizza joints, movie theaters, and amusement parks will be affected, as well. The idea is to provide easy access to the caloric information of your food choices to help you realize exactly what you are ingesting. The FDA also hopes that it will inspire restaurants to make healthier food preparation choices.
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Gluten-Free Foods are Officially Gluten Free; FDA Enforces Labeling Standards

gluten free

It seems everywhere you turn these days, there is a new addition to the gluten-free gang. Celebrities, the lady down the street, maybe your own cousin — they’ve all happily hopped onto the gluten-free bandwagon, without or without an actual intolerance. However, there’s a new member of the group that may surprise you.

The latest additions to the list of things that are gluten-free are in fact foods labeled with the term “gluten-free.” Starting this week, the term “gluten-free” is regulated, meaning it is no longer up to the various manufacturers to decide what that label actually means.

5 Reasons Why Most of Us Should Not Go Gluten Free

For those who suffer from celiac disease or other conditions that prevent them from digesting gluten, this comes as welcome news.


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Food Labels Lead to Confusion, Waste

Open your fridge, and examine the labels on your food. No, not the nutrition labels, the ones that indicate if your food is still safe to eat. Based on the information you find, is your food still safe? Depending on which label your food carries, this may be a harder question than you think.

milk

Many of us assume the three main labels (Sell by Date, Expiration Date, and Best if used by Date) mean the same thing. However, each of those three labels has a distinct meaning that may or may not tell you when you should throw out the food.


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The Right Way to Read a Food Label: Don’t Overlook the Fine Print

Clients love to tell me about the new snack bar or cereal they found at the grocery store. They tell me how it’s all natural or full of whole grains. I hate bursting their bubble when I ask how much sugar it has.

label

In your quest to be a healthy and fit you need to be a vigilant food detective.   You can’t trust the health claims on the front of the box. You have to read the back of the box, the ingredient list in particular, to really understand what is (or isn’t) in the oatmeal or protein bar you’re about to buy. Unfortunately, it’s not easy deciphering food labels. Without sounding too much like a conspiracy theorist, I think they do it on purpose.

The marketing team believes if they highlight the words “natural”, “light”, or “reduced” on the label we, the consumer, won’t look any further than that. We will simply trust that the product is good for us, load up our carts and go on our merry way.

The problem is a lot of people do just that. This is where they often get into trouble. You have to read the label to get the real story of what’s going on. Even on products you buy regularly you need to check in every so often to make sure they haven’t changed anything without telling you. Do a quick scan of the products going in your cart and look for these 5 things:

  1. Serving Size
    Don’t be so sure that a bottle of juice or a small bag of granola is just one serving. More often than not what appears to be a single serving package of chips or beverage has at least two servings. You could take in double or triple the calories without really even noticing.
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Chips Made With “Healthier” Ingredients May Not Be as Healthy as You Think

When the snack time munchies strike, you know that a handful of potato chips isn’t the way to go. Instead you reach for chips made out of quinoa, sweet potatoes, or veggies. But are they really a better option?

sweet potato chips

Unfortunately, just because a chip is made out of something traditionally considered healthy, it isn’t a guaranteed healthy snack choice. The process used to make chips, no matter what they’re made out of, can strip many of the foods’ natural health benefits.

When looking for the perfect crunchy snack, it’s important to pay close attention to what’s on the nutrition label and in the ingredients list. For example, our friends over at Shape Magazine found a chip made from quinoa (a normally fiber-rich food) that contained essentially no fiber per serving. However, the chips did have 9 grams of protein and just 12 grams of carbohydrates per 20-chip serving.
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