Friday, January 25, 2008

How Food Labels Try To Trick You

This lesson was one of my favorite nutrition classes to teach. All of my clients were trying to lose weight so it was a re-education for them. It was eye-opening for me and for them too. I hope it gives you new eyes on reading labels and what they really mean.
You May Be Eating More Than You Think

This article was emailed to me from Lou Siri,

Do you really know how much you're eating? When you check out the food label on your breakfast cereal or microwaveable dinner, you had better read carefully, or you could wind up consuming more calories and fat than you think.

The biggest mistake people make is not looking at the serving size. You might say, "oh wow, this only has 100 calories!" and eat the whole thing. But be careful, the package may serve four, which means you'd be eating 400 calories, not 100.

You can find the serving size listed directly under the Nutrition Facts on the food label. When reading your food labels, this is the first place to look because it influences all the nutrient amounts listed below it. The serving size is supposed to be based on the amount of food people typically eat, but this is not always the case. Breakfast cereals are a great example. A serving size is typically listed as one half cup or three-quarters cup, but most cereal bowls hold two cups.
Another place consumers get confused is the fat content. Less than 30 percent of your total calories should come from fat.

Unfortunately, we can't always rely on the advertised percentages to paint a true picture. Labels that boast "98% fat free" or "50 percent less fat" are misleading. The fat percentages on these labels are based on volume only. For example, if you were to take a bottle of water and put one drop of oil in it, you could say that by volume, that water is 99 percent fat free. Yet 100% of the calories come from fat.

The next time you're at the store look at the milk labels. One serving of 1% milk typically contains 100 calories and 25 of those calories are from fat. That's 25% fat, not 1%. To determine whether the food you buy is less than 30% fat, follow this simple procedure. Look at the label on a particular food. It will show the number of calories per serving and the number of calories from fat. Next, divide the calories from fat by the total calories to see if it is less than 30%.

Even if you find a food that has less than 30% of calories from fat or one that has no fat, be careful not to fall into the fat-free trap. It's a proven fact that people eat more than they should if it's labeled fat-free. Just because it's fat free, doesn't mean it's calorie free. Another potential problem with fat-free foods is the sugar content. A lot of fat-free foods have a lot of added sugar. Read the ingredient list. If sugar is one of the first things on the list, then that is what was used to replace fat. If you're concerned about your health you don't want added sugar in your diet either.

So what do the label claims mean? Below is a list of some of the common claims seen on food packaging and what these claims mean, according to the FDA regulations.

- Fat free = less than 1 gram of fat per serving
- Low fat = 3 grams of fat or less per serving
- Reduced fat = 25% less of the nutrient or calories than the usual product has.
- Light = one third fewer calories or the fat of the usual food.
- Calorie free = fewer than 5 calories per serving.
- Low sodium = less than 140 mg of salt per serving.
- Low calorie less than 40 calories per serving.
- Low cholesterol = less than 20 mg of cholesterol and 2 grams of fat per serving.
- Reduced = 25 percent less of the specified nutrient or calories than the usual product.
- Good source of = provides at least 10% of the daily value of a particular vitamin or nutrient per serving.
- High fiber = 5 or more grams of fiber per serving.
- Lean (meat, poultry, seafood) = 10 grams of fat or less, 4 grams of saturated fat and less than 95 mg of cholesterol per 3 ounce serving.

My favorite is the cooking spray "for fat free living". There are zero grams of fat and only 2 calories per serving (sounds good doesn't it?). Guess what the serving size is? 1/3 of a second! Think about how much you need to coat a small pan...
If you look at the ingredients of that "fat free" cooking spray it has only one - vegetable oil - 100% fat!


When I taught these classes I loved to use props; visuals. I would use this bag of Gummy SweetTart Bugs candy. The bag was always empty. Someone had fallen for its ploy.... :) Really....I dug it out of the trash can. ;) But right on the front of the package was this huge graphic star that said 'FAT FREE!!!!' Well of course.....It was all sugar!!!!

Now, hopefully, you too, will be very suspicious of the packaging. These food manufacturers want to deceive you. Otherwise, if you want to truly be healthy, you won't give them your business.

Take care,

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Socrates Was Wrong

By Blair Warren

Knowledge is power.

How many times have we heard this one? It is one of the battle cries of our society. It’s an idea so obvious, so undeniable that few ever give it a second thought. We don’t just seek knowledge; we worship it. Even Socrates, a wise man if there ever was one, said, “There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance.”

If only it were that simple. The truth is, Socrates was wrong. Here’s why:
First, the pursuit of knowledge often becomes an end in itself. Too many people are living their lives as if they’re just “one secret” away from being able to take action. One secret, one book, one seminar, one whatever away from having the “knowledge” it’s going to take for them to succeed. Then, and only then, will they attempt to do the things they wish to do with their lives. Of course, they never quite achieve the state of knowledge they’re seeking. Why? Because it doesn’t exist.
In his book, If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him, Sheldon Kopp points out that, “All important decisions must be made on the basis of insufficient data.”

Notice he said all important decisions, not some, many or even most. All of them. And if we take this reasoning a step further we can easily infer that all endeavors we may take must be made in the same way – on the basis of insufficient data. In other words, no matter how much we study, prepare or practice, some degree of ignorance is unavoidable and accepting this is what separates those who overcome their ignorance from those who are eaten up by it.
Sure, knowledge can be advantageous, but this absurd notion that ignorance is “evil” and therefore must be – or even can be – eliminated serves no one but the peddlers of magic wisdom.
Second, knowledge can actually destroy your power. Yes, destroy it. Here’s how:
A few years ago I had a conversation with a very successful entrepreneur. When I asked him what he attributed his success to, he said, without hesitation, ignorance. Yes, ignorance. He said he was grateful he didn’t know how difficult his climb to the top was going to be before he began. If he had known, he would have never begun. For him, knowledge isn’t power. Ignorance is. And he’s not alone.

I‘ve asked the same question of other successful people and almost without fail, ignorance ranks high on their list of success attributes. Whether they knew it explicitly or not from the onset of their endeavors, on some level these people understood that “too much knowledge” could destroy their will to act. If they had entertained all the negative possibilities that could befall them before taking action, they would have never taken action.

According to the narrator in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Notes from Underground, “…a man of heightened consciousness…often gives up so completely in the face of his antithesis that he honestly feels himself, with all his heightened consciousness, to be a mouse, not a man.”

And cartoon characters aside, the achievements of mice are slim indeed.

And third, knowledge isn’t the sole, nor even primary, determining factor in man’s ability to succeed in life. To elevate knowledge above such qualities as drive, resilience, awareness, cunning and the like, is, ironically, the height of ignorance.

Dr. Christopher Hyatt, in the introduction to his deliciously irreverent book,
The Psychopath’s Bible puts it this way:
There is a lot of slop in life. You can make a ton of mistakes, be the biggest screwup and still survive and even succeed. Don’t let anyone fool you about this. There are millions-billions-of people who believe all kinds of lies and still do well. Some people believe the truth and are utter failures. Life is tolerant, even stupidly so.

You might want to read that one again. Maybe even put it in a frame above your desk as I have done as it’s a hell of a lot closer to reality than Socrates’ pithy quote.

Well, there you have it. Three reasons I think Socrates was wrong to classify knowledge as “the one good” and ignorance as “the one evil.” Knowledge is not power. Neither is ignorance. There is, however, a balance between the two and our power lies in finding it. And the surest way to do that is not to worship at the feet of the wise but to fumble and bumble our way through life; if there is something we must learn, we are more apt to learn it by living life and making mistakes than by preparing to live life and hoping to avoid them.

I wanted to share this blog article with you. After re-reading it today it made me think of how I set up some blocks for my own success. I have this unrealistic idea that I have to do it right the first time. Doesn't matter what project I'm talking about, I have the need to be perfect in almost everything I do. And one of them is eating healthy and following a sound workout program.

So by taking this article to heart, I see that I don't have to know everything in order to do something. Phew! WHAT A RELIEF!!! Just get started. Doesn't matter if it's learning to draw, writing a blog, eating in a more healthy way; it-doesn't-matter. You will only know what's right for you by experience.

That's What It's Going To Take.

Take care,

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Are We REALLY Talking About Cussin'????

I'm here to tell I have blown it; I lost!! I made a bet with my husband that we would give up cussing. I did this mainly because I'm a real cusser now. And it's only fair to tell you that my parents didn't allow cussing (from the children) so I had been trained better than that.

My sweet husband rarely cusses. And when he so rarely does, he says that 'pardon my French' phrase. I don't know why because when he lived in Europe after college he only spent 24 hours in France! LOL!

Anyway, I cussed and lost. I'm glad we didn't have any bets on that one. Phew!!! :)

Well, do you think since I blew that resolution I should just throw in the towel? Maybe I should go ahead and put a cuss word into every sentence. I could blame it on the state of the country; we ALL cuss!!! So, it's not my fault. I can't help myself. Why there are cuss words every were I look. There's one on every corner of the street and I actually believe people line up at a building's window to get cussed at or to give a cussing.

I really do try. I wake up each morning saying 'This is the day I'm NOT going to cuss.' I even will get a new outfit that helps me not cuss, a new magazine that has cuss-less people on the front of it and even spend $24.95 on 3 easy payments for something on TV to help eliminate my cussing. I'm sure if I really take it to heart I, too, won't cuss.

But I might as well face it. My parents cussed. My whole family cusses. And frankly, I LIKE to cuss. My doctor said I shouldn't cuss because it's not healthy. And she even gave me a prescription (Valium!!!) to help me not cuss or to at least keep my cussing under control.

This group I've joined is called Cussers Anonymous. I thought it would help me not cuss but between breaks we all go outside and cuss up a storm!!!

One day I was doing good. No cussing!!! I thought I was successful. I thought I was no longer a cusser. Therefore, I didn't have to try anymore. So on the way out the door that morning I locked my keys in the house (it really was an accident, not at all subconscious or anything) and then I cussed. Even worse, I cussed out LOUD!!! My neighbor heard me too. He was taking his little girl to school and well, he gave me one of the dirtiest looks. I felt shameful because I know he doesn't cuss. Otherwise his little girl wouldn't have stuck her tongue out at me.

I'm a failure. So SHIT....

What's It Going To Take?