Training Days 15 and 16, NUTRITION READING LABEL TIPS

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HAPPY WEEKEND EVERYONE!

Hope you are enjoying the beautiful weather and sunshine. May is always a busy time of year, between graduations, start of wedding season, memorial day weekend, barbecues, life can get pretty busy. Thank you for giving me a moment of your time and reading my blog!

I hope between the hustle and bustle of the weekend, you found some time to get in a workout! Friday was a weights and swim today, and yesterday I spent the day babysitting a 3 year old all day. I had the pleasure of taking her to the pool for several hours, then to the park. By 5:00 I was exhausted. I thought “wow, how do mothers do this every day”! I know I have a few mom readers, so after I was done babysitting, I took my tired bum to the gym and got in a good work out. If my reader moms can do it, I can do it! So yesterday’s workout was for you guys!

While at the gym yesterday, I got on the ol spinner bike for 30 minutes and coached my own spin class to myself. On the slower songs, I would crank the tension up and climb, and on the fast upbeat songs, I would do sprints. Needless to say I kicked my own butt. After my indoor bike ride, I hoped on a treadmill (which I hate, but I was in a time crunch and didn’t have many other options), and ran 2 miles.

If any of you readers out there are preparing for a triathlon, remember to train your body by doing ‘bricks’. Bricks simply means right after you swim, you bike, or right after you bike, you swim. Its important for your body to try and get use to changing from one exercise to the next. After getting off the bike and trying to run, its an odd feeling to try and get your body to remember the rhythm. So start by setting up your workouts with bricks.

Today I would like to talk about nutrition labels and false advertising. Every item in the grocery store claims to be “low in,” “free of” or “good for” . . . something. This makes it difficult to separate the healthy stuff from the waistline wreckers. Use this guide line to learn what the most misleading food labeling claims really mean.

Lightly Sweetened:

A frequently abused claim with no formal definition, this appears most often in the cereal aisle, and many of the boxes it adorns are actually loaded with various sweeteners. Always check nutrition labels for sugar contents. The most important are cereals and juice. In fact, if I were you, I would just not eat cereal. All of them are loaded with sugar. Instead choose oatmeal. And no not the oatmeal poaches “cinnamon and brown sugar” etc. Just good old fashion oatmeal. A good rule of thumb, if an item has 10 grams or more of sugar per serving, that food is not a good choice.

Good Source Of . . .

This packaging claim is of slightly less importance than “excellent source of.” It means that the product contains between 10 and 19 percent of your daily requirement for the mentioned nutrient. In other words, you would have to eat between 5 and 10 servings to get your full day’s value.

Reduced Fat

Splashed across too many packaged goods to count, this term means that the total fat grams have been reduced by at least 25 percent. Sounds great, right? Problem is, that reduction in fat often comes with an increase in sugar and sodium and, ultimately, no net nutritional gain to speak of.

Multigrain

This simply means that more than one type of grain was used in processing (e.g., wheat, rye, barley, and rice). It doesn’t, however, make any claim about the degree of processing used on those grains. Also, beware of the equally ambiguous “wheat bread,” a claim that simply means the loaf was made from wheat flour, which might very well be refined and colored with molasses to appear darker. The only trustworthy claim for whole grains is “100 percent whole grain.”

Natural

This term is used almost entirely at the discretion of food processors. With the exception of meat and poultry products, the USDA has set no definition and imposes no regulations on the use of this term, making it essentially meaningless.

Trans Fat–Free

Food processors can make this claim so long as their product contains less than 0.49 gram of trans fat per serving. Considering the American Heart Association recommends capping daily intake at 2 grams, this is no small amount. So even if the label reads “0 g trans fat,” that’s no guarantee that you’re in the clear. Instead, read the ingredients list; if shortening or partially hydrogenated oil is listed, then you need to find another product.

Reading labels can be tedious and time consuming when you are grocery shopping. The simplest thing to do is only shop the parameter of the store, where the produce, dairy, and meats live. Stay out of the middle isles when possible. If you are picking up a good that’s in a package, read and compare products. It will be time consuming the first time but once you find a product you like, you won’t have to keep reading labels. Last and final tip, read the ingredients list. Whatever is listed first is what that item has the most of. For example, if the first item listed is ‘High fructose corn syrup”, then a red flag should be going off in your head, NO! Don’t eat it! You might really be surprised with what is in the foods you are eating. Educate yourself and eat smart!

Weekend isn’t over yet! You still have time to go out and exercise, even if its 15 pushups and sit ups in your living room while watching tv, you have to start somewhere!

With Love

-Crista

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