Unhealthy Ingredients

Have you ever looked at the Ingredients List on the back of a package? You may be surprised as to what manufacturers are adding to your foods. However, to help maximize your nutrition, you may consider limiting or ELIMINATING the foods that have the following listed as the first 5 ingredients in the Ingredients List.

  • Enriched – aka Non-Whole Grain – this basically means a lot of the “good stuff” in the original food (like fiber, and various minerals and vitamins) have been stripped from this food, and possibly only some minerals or vitamins have been “added” back
  • Trans Fats– key word – “hydrogenated” oils; these can been a large spectrum of various processed foods. Hydrogenation can increase a food’s shelf life… but who really wants to eat food that can look the same on the shelf after 1 or more years? Plus, this type of fat is even worse (gram for gram) for cardiovascular health than saturated fat
  • Saturated Fat – generally speaking “the majority of fat from 4 legged animals” ; fried foods are also to be minimized or eliminated; saturated (and trans) fats are those bad fats that contribute to our heart disease risk
  • Sugar – and including but not limited to other names for sugar: corn syrup (including high fructose corn syrup), dextrose, glucose, fructose, malt, maltose, sucrose, lactose; any “natural” sources of sugar such as rice syrup, honey, molasses, etc are also in this group. Sugar intake increases inflammation in the body, so careful – this must be eaten in moderation!

Note: usually the “Ingredients List” is just under the Nutrition Facts Label

What About Drinks?

Recommendation #1: Limiting or eliminating all artificially flavored drinks. If this is difficult, slowly incorporate various methods to increase water intake, and decrease the volume of these artificially flavored drinks.

Recommendation #2: Work towards minimizing caffeine intake to a max of 2-4 daily 8 oz servings of a naturally caffeinated beverage per day, such as coffee and teas. Increase your regular water intake as well (48-64 oz water/day). Regarding those “energy drinks / sodas” – work towards decreasing the frequency of these drinks by following the above mentioned Recommendation #1.

Recommendation #3: Alcohol – Alcohol is a “touchy” topic for some. If you do not currently drink, then don’t worry, you do not have to consume alcohol for good health. However if you already enjoy alcohol, one serving for women, and 1-2 servings for men per day (total) is the maximum that could be considered “beneficial” or healthy for the body… AND No, it doesn’t mean you can save up all the servings for a “binge drinking weekend” – we know this is not healthy for the body! Do you know what 1 serving looks like? (refer to http://www.calorieking.com or your Calorie King book for more info regarding serving size!)

Quick Summary

Eating more foods that are “of the earth” (fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean protein sources) and that are less processed are going to bring you closer to good health. Increasing regular water intake is also a great plan. Understanding good portion control of various foods is also important, however just by making goals such as “I will have 1 added cup of veggies dinner, and 2 ½ c. servings of fruit daily” is a great place to start.

For more information, please consult with the medical professionals at Diabetes and Lipid Clinic of Alaska.

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