By Jonathan Bailor
Have you ever wondered what the vitamin and mineral percentages on nutrition labels actually mean?
Ten percent of vitamin A. Hmmmm. Is that good or bad? Ten percent for a child? Ten percent for an adult? Ten percent for a woman? Oh gosh, I thought I was grocery shopping not taking a math test.
These are wonderful questions to ask, because otherwise we may assume double-digit percentages mean the food is nutritious, and sadly, that’s frequently false. For example, let’s say you want to mix it up a bit during your next trip to the grocery store, and are looking to boost your calcium intake. You spot some goat’s milk, and consider giving it a whirl. You grab the carton, flip it around and see this label: 30 percent calcium. Traditionally you may consider this a “good source” of calcium. But is it? Should you give the good old goat a go? Maybe.
Here are the three key questions to ask to help with your decision:
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It’s in ranch dressing, Doritos, canned soups, and french fries. You’re eating it if you go to KFC, have green bean casserole, or take a swig of Diet Coke. Really, any processed food likely includes some form of it. What is this ubiquitous food product? Monosodium glutamate, most commonly known as MSG.
For years, MSG has been the subject of debate. The Food and Drug Administration calls it safe, MSG-sensitive persons think it causes headaches and asthma, and scientists show conflicting research on the effects of MSG. What’s the truth? Should everyone stop eating it? Are the food companies and government in conspiracy against the public? Or is this product a safe and healthy flavor enhancer?
First, it is helpful to go over what monosodium glutamate is. MSG is added to foods to enhance flavor without giving a flavor of its own, according to the FDA. It was first discovered in Japan in 1908 by a scientist named Ikeda, who isolated the compound after wanting to know the secret of his wife’s delicious soup. Along with branding his product and making millions, he also came up with the idea of umami, a fifth taste translated as savory or deliciousness that is distinct from the senses of sweet, sour, bitter, and salty.
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It’s Friday! Before you take off for the weekend, take some time to read this week’s best health and fitness headlines. This week’s dose of healthy news consists of a women-only run that gets pretty muddy, increasing your chances of pregnancy with a fertility-focused diet, and recipes for a solid weekend dinner.
Petition the FDA to Add Sugar in Teaspoons to Nutrition Labels
When buying processed food, reading the nutritional label is important for your health. Processed foods’ nutritional labels use the metric system, but most Americans do not understand it. Learn how some people are trying to change the nutritional label information from grams to teaspoons to make it easier to understand how much sugar you’re consuming.
Get Down and Dirty at Pretty Muddy, a Women-Only Obstacle Mud Run
You can get colorful with the Color Run or glow during the Glow Run, but have you thought about running Pretty Muddy? It’s a women-only 5K where you get down and dirty while running through a muddy obstacle course. Sign-up fast, the first run is in Chicago on September 15!
State of School Lunches: How MyPlate Will Start Making a Difference This Year
The food pyramid was replaced by MyPlate over a year ago. MyPlate is a visual representation of what your plate should look like, and now school lunches have to meet these guidelines, too. Check a school cafeteria this fall.
News from our friends
5 Hot Workouts on the Horizon You Have to Try – FitBottomedGirls.com
Men: Improve Your Sex Life by Losing 2.5 Inches Off Your Waist – HealthBubble.com
The Fertility Diet – Yahoo! Shine
Recipes we love
BBQ Chicken Tacos with Avocado Coleslaw
Summery Black Bean Salad
Raspberry and Serrano Sangria – TreeHugger.com
Don’t wait until the end of the week to hear from us! Follow us on Twitter and Pinterest, or Like us on Facebook!
Be honest, do you read nutrition labels? I have to admit I read them more and more in a quest for better health. I try to pay attention to sodium, sugar, fat and calories and I’m especially focused on the ingredient list. These labels hold the key to the ingredients within the foods we eat and are often more telling of the quality of food than the often confusing nutrition facts.
As Americans we don’t follow the metric system, so understanding the number of grams of various elements in our food can prove difficult; for some it can make the information downright useless. To make that label even more relevant, there is a petition circulating at Change.org requesting that the FDA add the number of teaspoons of sugar to the “per serving” section on nutrition labels. They currently have 117 of 18,000 desired signatures.
Implementing this idea can help greatly with understanding just how much sugar is in the foods you are considering. Added sugar is one of many catalysts in the current levels of obesity we see throughout the country.
To see how helpful this change might be, I asked our resident registered dietician Mary Hartley if reflecting sugar measurements in teaspoons would be beneficial. “Yes it would be helpful if added sugar were separated from naturally occurring sugars in fruit, milk and some vegetables,” Mary said. When asked if seeing the sugar content in grams can make a difference in curbing obesity, Mary stated, “Obesity is a multifaceted, complex problem. I would not expect any single intervention to make a big difference, although many small actions do add up. It certainly wouldn’t hurt.”
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By Abra Pappa for Nutritious America
If you are into reading labels then you have most likely seen an ingredient called carrageenan. It specifically appears on the label of many organic processed food products.
What is Carrageenan?
Carrageenan is a polysaccharide derived from red seaweed and it has molecular qualities similar to plastic. Seaweed sounds innocent enough; it’s natural right? Absolutely, as a matter of fact, many types of seaweed are commonly used as a medicinal food to support many conditions like thyroid disorder and even cancer. However, not all seaweed is created equal and the process in which carrageenan is extracted from the red seaweed has become the cornerstone of a debate about allowed ingredients in organic products.
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