10 Smart Health Resolutions that can improve your health, and quality of life.
#5: Become a label detective.
➡ Don't be fooled by ingredient labels. Manufacturers want to convince you that their product will fit into your diet. To do this they will take a product that looks like one serving, but create a nutrition label that only reflects half the product. When you eat the whole package, you have actually eaten two servings or double the calories, fat, and sugar listed on the nutrition label. Always check the amount of servings per package and do the math.
➡ Those of us working to keep poisonous trans fats out of our diets can be mislead by an ingredient label that says zero trans fats. Don't let that number fully convince you there is no transfats in the product. If a product contains less than 0.5 grams of trans fat (or 0.4999), manufacturers can claim zero but it still contains a half gram or less. The only way to know for sure is to look at the ingredient part of the label. If you see hydrolyzed oil, that is trans fat. So always look for terms like hydrogenated soybean oil or any other type of hydrogenated oil.
➡ Know which ingredients are potentially harmful genetically modified organisms (GMOs.) That hydrogenated soybean oil gets multiple strikes against it since it is not only trans fat, but is probably genetically modified as well (GMOs). Over 90% of the soy produced in the United States is now genetically modified because producers of this seed have been secretly working to transition all non organic fields to this type of crop. Even after initially research showed high risk with these types of foods including sterility, and no long term health or environmental impact studies have been done, the government approved these products for human consumption.
➡ Over 40 countries require mandatory GMO labeling by clearly identifying those ingredients on the label, but not the United States. There are many groups working to change that so you have the "right to choose whether you want to eat these living organisms or not." If your first thought was "no I don't want to eat those or feed them to my child, you are not alone as most people say the same thing. Go to the Smart Health Talk homepage to find the link to "The Institute for Responsible Technologies Non GMO Shopping List" you can download or add to your phone and easily identify those GMO containing products right at the store.
➡ Avoid added sugars and high fructose corn syrups by knowing how to identify them on the label. Sugar ingredients come with many different names. Some like to say all sugars are the same because they all become glucose in your body. We at Smart Health Talk disagree. High frutose corn syrup (HFCS) is by far the worst, and Americans are eating it at higher quanities than ever because manufacturers replaced sugarcane sugar for HFCS for one reason, it costs much less so they can increase profit. Your health was never considered. HFCS not only raises fats in your blood (triglycerides), but also raises the kind of cholesterol that gives you heart disease (LDL cholesterol). Something like 88% of the non organic corn in the United States is GMO corn. So choose products with high frutose corn syrup and you are also choosing GMOs.
➡ Toxic mercury is used in the manufacturing process of HFCS with research showing over 50% of HFCS containing products also contain mercury.Read more here. First if the word "syrup" is on the label, it is sugar. Ingredients that end in "ose" are sugar, or have sugar together with other terms are most certainly sugar, but some sugars may not be so easy to identify. Dextrin in the word is sugar.
➡ Agave and honey are sugars that are somewhat different. Raw, unfiltered honey is always our top choice for adding to foods and tea. Agave nectar, made from the agave cactus, is another favorite and is great for when you want something that will dissolve in cold liquids. Agave has a lower glycemic index and comes in raw varieties. It is high in frutose so consumption of large amounts is not recommended, but since it is sweeter than sugar, you can actually use less. Organic raw agave is great tasting sweetener in almost anything.
➡ Then there are the "sugar alcohols that end in "itol." These are known for having very low calories, but uncomfortable side effects that include a range of gastrointestinal disorders. We recommend avoiding them completely.
➡ Compare ingredient labels on an organic versus a non organic version of the same product for a shocker. You may think you can't afford organic or that it is not worth it. Before you come to that conclusion compare a non organic version of a product to an organic version. Chances are you will be familiar with all of the ingredients in the organic version, and only a couple in the non organic version. Use your label detective skills to determine if the ingredients included, and the risks associated with them are really worth it.
➡ Download the "Chemical Cuisine Mobile App" to help you learn more about additives in foods and which are recommend as safe and which you should totally avoid. Click here to go to the app. Soon you will be a pro and not even need the app.
➡ Remember that foods that are not USDA Certified Organic can contain a combination of the thousands of chemicals now available to food manufacturers. Non organic versions can also contain pesticides, herbicides, genetically modified ingredients, artificial colors, artificial flavors, refined products, transfats, and added chemicals that are supposed to add nutrition but are in a different form than when eaten from whole food sources, usually main ingredients are small and even artificial. It was found that some food products had pictures of blueberries on the label but did not contain any real blueberries. Read the article.
Find out about GMOs from Smart Health Talk guest Jeffrey Smith, author of "Seeds of Deception" and "Genetic Roulette."
Smart Health Talk guest Stacey Hall is working to get a bill passed in California that will require mandatory labeling of GMO food ingredients.
Listen to our interview with Dr. Michael Hansen, senior scientist, "Consumer Reports Magazine" explain how GMOs and pesticides impact our food, health, and environment. You will want to know this information.