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Nutrition & Diet Health

As you get ready to start your health kick for the year, make sure you take time to read the fine print on everything you see when you’re shopping. I am constantly reminding my family, friends and clients to ensure they have a safe food environment at home if they want to successfully lose weight. One of the problems we are all faced with is “what does healthy really mean”. Reading between the lines when you’re shopping can mean the difference between choosing a healthy and unhealthy food. Many products are labeled with phrases that make healthy eating difficult. I recently looked at a cereal that should have been healthy; however it had almost 5 times the amount of fat when compared with weet-bix. We see words like “cholesterol free”, “lite”, “99% fat free”, “no added sugar” and “low GI”. Can we really believe what we’re told? Many products that are lite can have a lighter taste, texture or colour. When you pick up “light” olive oil it is lighter because it is more processed is light in colour, not because it has less fat. Cholesterol free does not mean fat free. We know that plant foods do not contain cholesterol, they do however contain fat and many cholesterol free foods are extremely high in fat. A good example are soy and vegetable crisps, they are still fried and have as much fat as regular potato crisps. When a product is labeled “fat free” it does not mean you can eat twice as much. Studies show that when people eat food labeled “fat free” they tend to eat larger portion sizes because they think it is healthier. Remember that many reduced fat products contain added sugar. A good example are the “Natural” lollies, they are 99% fat free because they contain 99% sugar, but they are not considered a healthy choice. No added sugar is another buzz word that can get you trapped into thinking you can eat more than you should. No added sugar does not mean it does not contain sugar. There are many juices for example that do not have any added sugar, however they contain more sugar than most of the regular soft drinks. The nutrition information panel is you’re safest place to look to ensure your product is the healthiest choice. When reading labels you should always look at the per 100g column, this way you can compare one product to another. You should aim to keep the fat under 10g per 100g and if it is a liquid less than 2g. You may have noticed that many low fat products are high in energy. When checking the energy levels products which have more than 1250kJ or drinks with 150kJ are fairly energy dense, so look for another product with less kilojoules or have a smaller serving.

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