Reading Food Labels: the article that no one else will write:

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Are you pretty proficient at reading food labels? If so, this article is for you. If you are not proficient, this article will not teach you the basics. It will teach you what you can’t read about elsewhere.

As you know, HeartMark Health is about teaching you to listen to your body’s needs. The labels on food have some useful information, but you only if you avoid the marketers’ tricks. You have to seek out the relevant information and weed out the tricks.

The portion size is actually a trick and it is misleading. You should pay attention to the portion as it relates to the amount of protein, fat, salt, calcium, and sugar. But you cannot let the portion by itself determine how much you need to consume.

The way that you determine if a food is worthy of your hunger is indeed by reading the label. If you are very hungry, you will want the food to be high in protein and lean in fat. The fat content should be half the number of the protein content or less. This same label should show that the salt is not too high for this serving, as well as the sugar. It should obviously not have anything artificial. The portion amount on the label will guide you as to the amount of nutrition that you will receive for a certain amount of food. Based on your hunger, eat from this food in the amount that your body requires. Keep in mind your other food choices on the side.

This portion amount will help you determine if to eat a certain food or not. However, you should ignore the amount as a recipe for how much you should eat. Listen to the amount of your hunger. For a deep down hunger, you will want an estimate of 20-30 grams of protein. If the portion size offers you too little protein for too much fat and too much salt, which is often bundled up in inferior products, you will stay hungry. You could eat more of the same, or more of something else, but either way, it will not serve you well.

Lean chicken can be 21 grams of protein for only 9 grams of fat, taken in 4 little nuggets. If that leaves you hungry, you can still eat more. You won’t gain weight on numbers like that even if you eat until you’re full. By the time you are no longer hungry, you will remain full for much longer than by other choices.

Food labels often make the serving smaller so as to keep the perception that some of the ingredients are not that bad. For example, they may have too much salt in the food. They decrease the size of the portion so as to hide the salt content. When people eat this ‘serving,’ they stay hungry. If they maximized their daily salt sum, then they cannot eat more of this food choice. They will have to meet their extra nutritional needs in some other way.

It’s better to pick a food choice that you can eat freely as much as you want from the start.

I HeartMark You!


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