Beacon Health & Fitness Granger

3221 Beacon Parkway
Granger, IN 46530

Monday - Friday 5:00 am - 9:00 pm, Saturday, Sunday 7:00 am - 5:00 pm

(574) 647-8460

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The New Food Label  

Have you ever walked into a grocery store, picked up a packaged food item, and read the nutrition label on the back of the package? Reading food labels can be stressful and overwhelming, especially if you’re not sure what to look for.  The FDA recently updated the nutrition label on packaged food items so let’s take a look at what they’ve done to help us out.

First, the serving size and number of calories is written in larger and bolder type, which is easier to read.  The information on the label is for one serving of food, which has been updated to be more representative of how much the person is likely to eat of that particular food. Total carbohydrates is still on the label, but underneath it is a new line: added sugars.

Added sugars take many forms such as honey, molasses, maple syrup, or fruit juices that enhance the taste of the food (even though they are “naturally occurring” sweeteners).  These added sugars are digested quickly, and while this might taste good to us, it can lead to unstable blood sugar levels or weight gain because of increased calorie intake.

Checking the sodium, saturated fats, and trans fats is also very important for elevated blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and overall health.  Aim to keep your sodium at or below 2,300 mg per day especially if you have high blood pressure or heart disease (unless you have been given a lower limit by your doctor; please follow your doctor’s medical advice).

Reading ingredient statements is also important to identify fats like trans fats (called hydrogenated oils) and whole grain content.  Look for key words such as whole wheat, brown rice, quinoa, barley, whole grain oats or whole corn as the first ingredient to know if a food contains whole grains.  Refined grains are labeled as just wheat, corn, or rice, and are essentially more processed. These grains are not as nutritious as whole grains, so avoiding them as much as possible and opting for whole grains will benefit you more.

 

For more information on health and nutrition, contact one of our Beacon Health & Fitness Registered Dietitians:

Elkhart: Kate Glick, RD [email protected]

Granger / South Bend: Erica Weinandy, RD [email protected]