How to Read Nutrition Labels

Oh man, it’s been almost a month since my last post.  Life kind of happened haha.  I’ve had to cope with the sudden unexpected passing of one of my dogs, Handsome.  I’ve also been dealing with 2 new puppies,  school,  tons of demos with LetlerFit apparel, and the release of my new online workout program Get LetlerFit in 30 days! Link to view/purchase my program click here. (Can be downloaded internationally)

Anyways, today’s post is dedicated to reading nutrition labels (the basics).  By law every food item we purchase at a convenient store, supermarket etc. that comes packaged must contain Nutrition Facts that include ingredients, macronutrient and micronutrient break downs, serving size, and calories per serving.

If you start at the top of the label  you will see Serving size and Servings per container.  The macronutrient breakdown of each serving size follows below.  Now, how do they get the calories to declare up top where it says calories per serving?  In my previous post about macronutrients I mentioned that Carbohydrates contain 4 calories per gram, protein contains 4 calories per gram, and fat contains 9 calories per gram.  If you look at the attached Nutrition Label that also has explanations on how to read it you will see that this particular item has

12 g of fat, 31g of carbs, and 5g of protein.  So per serving 12g of fat times 9 gives 108 calories from fat, 31g of carbs times 4 gives 125 calories from carbs, and 5g of protein times 4 gives 20 calories from protein per serving.  In total that is 253 (rounds down to 250) calories per 1 cup of this food item.

Underneath the macronutrients, the micronutrients are listed.  Next to both macro and micronutrients you can find the % Daily value column.  The downfall to this column  is that the daily values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet (average male diet) so women have to estimate based off of the listed daily values.  So for example, if you are eating this food item and consume roughly 2,000 calories a day you are getting 20% of your Calcium needs, which means in your other foods you need to consume the other 80% of your Calcium needs.

In the attached photo ingredients are not listed, but on all labels you can find them. So looking at a label you see from very few ingredients to labels that contain tons of weird ingredients.  The less ingredients, generally the better the food item is for you.  The more ingredients on a label, the more fillers, useless junk, chemicals, and preservatives are what can be found.  The order in which the ingredients are listed are NOT random by the way. The ingredients that comes first on the list are the ones that are most found in the food item while the ingredients towards the end of the list are the ones that the item least contains.

ingredients

In the above example, the item most contains enriched flour and has the least of the food dyes.

That just about sums about nutrition labels.  Any questions? Don’t be afraid to comment! Don’t forget to check out my online at home 30 day workout program! Click here (Can be downloaded internationally)

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Kick your Sweet Cravings to the Curb

First, I would like to apologize for being MIA this past week between presentations, papers, client appointments and birthday madness I neglected to post last week.

This week however, I would like to start off with a blog about curbing your sweet tooth.  Why do we crave sugar in the first place? There are 2 main reasons.  First, sugars are carbohydrates.  Carbs trigger the release of our brains happy chemical, serotonin.  Second, because the taste of sugar actually gives your body a natural high by releasing endorphins.

Now, I have 5 Basic Tricks for curbing that sweet tooth.

1.  Usually, when we are craving sugar, or anything for that matter, it is because there is an imbalance in our diet.  To make things simple, I have attached a cravings chart that tells you you’re craving, what you’re missing, and what you should eat.

2. Instead of going for that chocolate bar or gummy worms, go for fruit.  Yes, fruits have sugars, but they are natural sugars that our bodies are able to better process.

3. Live a little, but not a lot.  Everything in moderation is ok.  If you have a good week, 2 weeks or even a month 1 bad day won’t kill you. When you do give in, try to combine the unhealthy sweet with a healthy one.  For example, a fruit with some nutella.

4.  Have a support system.  Making a LIFESTYLE change (healthy is not a diet, diets are temporary) can be difficult.  It gets a lot easier when you have an accountability partner or group.

5. Don’t skip breakfast.  When you skip breakfast you allow your body to drop in blood sugar levels that make you crave something sweet later on in the day.cravings chart

Macronutrients vs Micronutrients part 2

On Monday I went over the 3 different Macronutrients: Carbs, Proteins, and Fats.  Today, I’m hoping this post will clear up any confusion over the basics of Micronutrients.  Unlike macros that are needed in large amounts, micronutrients are only necessary in small amounts.  They are the Vitamins and Minerals.

Vitamins: A, C, D, K, E, & Bs

Minerals: Fluoride, Selenium, Iodine, Copper, Zinc, Sodium, Iron

Sodium is used for fluid balance and blood pH regulation in the body.  Manganese is required for Bone formation, to metabolize macronutrients, and energy production. Magnesium is needed for heart rhythm, glucose conversion to energy, and is needed to metabolize calcium and vitamin C.  Iron is needed to produce lymphocytes and red blood cells.  Chloride is needed to regulate water, electrolytes, and cell pH.  Though there are many more micro nutrients, I decided to name only a few to help you understand that though they are required in small amounts they are incredibly necessary for your body’s everyday processes.

Being deficient in Micronutrients, is usually due to a poor and unbalanced diet, and it incredibly dangerous.  Being deficient in iodine for example, is the lading cause of brain damage, still births, and miscarriages.  Vitamin A deficiency can cause blindness in kids as well as night time blindness in women pregnant.  Iron deficiency anemia is the most common of micronutrient deficiencies and occurs when your body is not producing enough red blood cells.  Unless you have a documented deficiency however, you shouldn’t worry about any side effects from being micronutrient deficient.micro chart