Nutritional Facts

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In today’s guest post Kathy is talking about interpreting nutritional facts on food packages and what to look for when you shop.

When you are shopping and you pick something up that you are interested in buying do you ever take a look at the nutritional facts?  If you do, what is the thing that you are drawn to first?  Is it the calories?  Maybe the fat?  Well there are several things that you want to look at beyond those things.

Serving size – while there are some foods that I feel that you can eat more than one serving, I think that we need to be conscious of how much we eat.  Snacks are a big area that we tend to eat without thinking.  Just sticking your hand in a bag or a box without realizing how much you grab can lead to so many extra calories.  Normally a handful is a little more than what a serving size should be so grabbing 2 or 3 handfuls is putting you over quite a bit.

Proteins – The average person should consumer 20-25% of their calories in protein.  Higher protein diets can help in losing weight if you replace the refined carbohydrates with protein.  When you do eat the protein instead of the refined carbs, you don’t get hungry as quickly and it stays with you longer.

Fiber – Once again with the average 2000 calories a day diet, the amount of fiber grams that a person should eat is about 35.  Most people only consume about 15 grams a day.  Adding whole grains along with fruits and vegetables can increase your intake by a good bit.  If you aren’t used to eating a lot of fiber, it may be best to gradually add to your diet.  Too much when you are not used to it could cause stomach cramping and gas.

Sodium – The American Heart Association recommends limiting your sodium intake to less than 2,000 milligrams per day.  Too much sodium can raise your risk of high blood pressure and kidney disease.  Not enough sodium can be a problem as well.  Without enough sodium, your body cannot maintain healthy fluid levels which could lead to a problem with the expanding and contracting of your muscles especially when you exercise.

Fat grams -Fat is an important part of your diet.  Everyone needs fat in their diet it is just a matter of what kind and how much.  The average fat grams that one should consume is no more than 30 % of your daily calories. Saturated fats are the unhealthy fast and should be limited to about 10 % of your daily intake.  Monounsaturated fats are the good fats.  They help to raise the good cholesterol levels in your body.  They should be 20% of your intake.

Calories – The average diet is about 2000 calories a day.  Of course to lose weight you want to reduce those calories.  You should not reduce your calories to less than 1200 a day.

When choosing foods, check out all the nutritional facts.  It may change your mind from eating a not so healthy food to a healthier one.  Making small changes everyday can make a big difference.  Awareness of what we put into our bodies is a big step into a healthier lifestyle.

Kathy has been posting with us every Wednesday and sharing her story and ideas for weight loss and a healthy life. Miss any of the previous posts?

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