Thursday, May 14, 2009

Labels that Lie...

Well you probably already know you shouldn't believe everything you read, except for this blog of course. What I am actually referring to is the language, phrases, and words used on Nutrition Labels of foods. These labels are there to inform you the consumer what is in the food you are about to purchase or eat. However what many don't know is that how you interpret or define the words like "fat free", "zero calories", and "sugar free" to mean are not exactly how the Food and Drug Administration defines these terms. So I have taken it upon myself to increase your knowledge so you can be as informed and empowered as possible out there in the cold hard world of health and wellness.

Here is how the Food and Drug Administration defines some of the common used language and phrases on food packages that you may be surprised about:


  1. Fat Free = Less than 0.5 grams per serving.
  2. Low saturated fat = 1 gram or less per serving
  3. Low fat = 3 grams or less per serving
  4. Reduced fat = At least 25% less fat than regular version
  5. Light in fat = Half the fat of the regular version


  1. Calorie free = Less than 5 calories per serving
  2. Low calorie = 40 calories or less per serving
  3. Reduced or less calories = At least 25% fewer calories than regular version
  4. Light or lite = Half the fat or a third of the calories of regular version


  1. Sodium free or salt free = Less than 5 milligrams per serving
  2. Very low sodium = 35 milligrams or less per serving
  3. Low sodium = 140 milligrams or less per serving
  4. Unsalted or no salt added = No salt added to product during processing


  1. Sugar free - less than 0.5 grams per serving.

Well there you have it and there are more. If you want to know more you can checkout the FDA website for more details on how they define words on nutrition labels and packaging.

So now that you are smarter and more knowledgeable - what are you going to do about it?

Well I say the easiest way to not have to be more confused about the FDA labels and nutritional facts is to just simply do your best to eat as close to nature as possible. If the majority of the foods you eat are in their natural form with very minimal processing if any, then you are on the right track. Live clean and eat clean.

Remember that EDUCATION and SAFETY always leads to RESULTS.

Post your comments below

Be Well.

Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration. A Food Labeling Guide - IX. Appendix A

Monday, May 11, 2009

Diet Myths Busted...

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Time to bust up some more myths. I was watching TV while on vacation and caught this interview of Dr. Nancy Synderman on the Today Show on MSNBC. In the interview she discusses some of the common diet myths and diet truths that seem to get lost in translation or are misunderstood by many looking to shed some pounds or extra fat on their bodies.

Here are some of the myths and truths with my own explanation and advice.

  1. Myth: Calories Don't Count - Well if you have been reading my post or have worked with me you should already know that at the end of the day its all about calorie in and calories out. This is called "Energy Balance". You simple can't just consume all that energy and not get rid of it through physcial activity or exercise. There are on 3 outcomes to the food we eat - 1) Used for energy, 2) Stored for enegry, and 3) Removed. So consuming a excessive amount of calories that are not inline with your energy out put will show up in the energy storage category in specific places like you hips, abdominal, legs, or thighs. Watch the calories.

  2. Myth: Carbs are Good and Carbs are Bad - Well its both as Dr. Synderman explained. Cosuming more complex fiberous unprocessed carbohydrates are great for you and a requirement. The bodies primary source of fuel is from carbohydrates. The brain and the central neverous system (CNS) can only feed on glucose which is from carbs. Now the sweet, sugary, and high calorie laden foods like white bread, cake, cookies, and doughnuts need to be eaten very, very, sparringly as these are the bad carbohydrates. What makes them bad is that they don't give anything useful other than just calories in a large amount and few vitamins and minerals. Eat carbs but just the kind that don't melt in your mouth - this is usually a sign that it is a processed high calorie version. The kind you have to chew are better - try eating a big bowl of broccoli and see how long it takes you.

  3. Myth: You Can't Keep the Weight Off - Keeping the weight off goes back to the energy balance equation. You need to eat like you live. If you are not very active (you should be more active) then you should eat like someone about to run a marathon or climb Mt. Everest. Keep it off will become easier if living a healthy and balanced life - is your lifestyle. Did you hear get that - let me repeat. Keeping it off will become easiser will become eaiser if living a healthy and balance life - is your "Lifestyle". You have live it - not just be healthy for 6 months or a 1 year. Now one thing I didn't agree with that Dr. Synderman said was that "yo-yo" dieting won't hurt you. Actually dieting usually means you have lowered you caloric intake to extreme or borderline extreme levels and the weight you lost was mostly lean muscle rather than fat. By losing lean muscle you will in fact make a significant change to your metabolism - it will be lower, which will make gaining it after you return to your normal eating habits much easier. Don't lose weight - keep your lean mass - burn the fat.

  4. Myth: Eating After 8pm - Think about this - Does your body really know what time it is? I don't think so - so whats up with the time stuff. Truth is if your hungry or need to eat then eat. Now what you should eat and how much is important. Just be smart about it. We need to eat to live - we just need to do it in the right way.

  5. Myth: All White Foods are Bad - Absolutely not true. Nature has provide use with some great foods that are white such as bananas, cauliflower, dates, garlic, and potatoes. These foods are excellent sources of healthy calories, vitamins, and minerals. What we need to watch out for is the highly processed (man manipulated) white foods that are striped of there nutrients during processing. Check out one of my previous post about colors in foods.

I hope you have learned something about some of these commons myths that lead many down the wrong path of thinking and practices. Now use this information to correct any behaviors that are impacting your ability to reach your goals.

Remember that EDUCATION and SAFETY always leads to RESULTS.

Share you comments below.

Be Well.

This web site and its content does not provide medical advice and does not direct that you undertake any specific exercise or fitness regimen. You must consult a physician before undertaking any activity described in this web site.