What’s your way of eating? Do you follow a diet? Do you fight with extra pounds? You don’t get fat even though you eat out of control, so you don’t mind what you put in your mouth, as long as it’s tasty? Or did you start paying attention to nutrition only after a more or less serious health problem? Whatever your motivations, you should start with a good habit: reading the nutrition tables of the foods you bring to the table.
The ideal would be to read the nutritional tables of what you buy, even before eating.
What to read on the nutrition tables
We start from the fact that we cannot make a single discourse that applies to all foods. I mean, I can’t go check the carbohydrate content on the egg carton, or the protein in the pasta.
I have to start knowing what category of food I have in my hands, then based on this, I check some values rather than others.
Let’s give ourselves some rules
If we are to start making conscious food choices, it is important to have at least a few rules that we can follow and that can help us quickly select the best product.
When at the supermarket you find yourself in front of thousands of different products, even if in appearance similar, which one do you choose? It is certainly easier to choose based on the price. But what if we also started making different comparisons? For example, having 2 packs of cookies in your hands, and choosing not based on price or calories?
Let’s start with the list of ingredients
Know that to make healthy choices, the first rule would be to avoid processed products. To be clear, that is, those products that have been industrially transformed, and which have almost nothing more natural. Natural products, those that contain the substances our body needs, such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, etc., do not have a list of ingredients. The only ingredient is the product itself. An apple will be an apple, a cauliflower will be a cauliflower, and a lemon will be a lemon.
Just like the cod will be cod. If he’s disguised as a fish stick, he’s already going to be a cod in the middle.
So, first rule:
Read the ingredients list first. The shorter it is, the better. If you find more than 5 ingredients, leave it alone. Perhaps it is appropriate to opt for a more natural product. Remember that the ingredients are listed in order from the most present. If sugar appears among the first ingredients, we are not there at all!
This ingredient list, for example, is long and ranks second in sugars. But we’re talking about leavened baked goods, so we couldn’t expect who knows what.
If we go to see how much sugar there is in a single snack, it says 13 g. Saturated fats are not excessive, and there is a small amount of salt.
What do we understand? Nothing, if read as a series of numbers. But if we have reference values, already the understanding of what we read begins to change. And with reference values, I mean how many sugars per day we can introduce, how much fat, or how much salt. And then consider what our overall diet is. Otherwise it makes little sense.
This is a similar product to the previous one, but with other values and ingredients. For example, there is always sugar as a second ingredient, but this time 1 snack contains 5 g. The one from before had 13 g.
Total fats are less in this second snack, but perhaps in proportion there are more saturated fats.
Salt? Maybe more here, even if the difference is minimal.
Then in this second snack, the ingredients include not only sugar, but also glucose syrup (always sugar), but also preservatives (which were not there in the first snack).
The first snack is bigger (40 g vs 21 g), but in proportion, there are also more sugars (32% vs 24%).
Given that it would be better not to consume them at all, there is not a big difference between these 2 products. If I really have to choose, I choose the 21 g one (I try to hurt myself less).
Here they are in photos:
It would be better not to choose a product that is not “natural” at all, but having to choose it would be better the n. 2. Smaller.
Do we want to compare them with a similar but different product?
I show you the nutrition table first:
This snack has 6 g of sugars, but in proportion less than the others (15.9%).
Here she is:
Today’s latest example, this nutrition chart:
We have 24.9% of sugars, a snack contains 8.7 g. But then 1 is enough for you? We are talking about these:
Many of you still want to watch calories, but these are certainly not the place to start.
On baked goods such as these snacks for example, we can recommend that if you really can’t avoid it, at least choose the one that is smaller or with less sugar. Because it’s definitely not good for you.
We have always said that the body must be nourished, but introducing about 100 Kcal to give nothing (just struggling to dispose of) seems to me too much. In fact, when we introduce nutrient-free foods, the body struggles to dispose of and does not benefit from it. This is the sense of not starting with calorie counting as the first step!
I leave you to your reflections, promising that I will come back tomorrow to show you other similar examples.
I want to lead you to conclusions by reasoning, but to do this, we need to get there a little at a time.
Dott.ssa Maria Esaminato