Fit in a Year - Week
If we are going to watch what we eat, we are going to need to
learn to read the nutrition label on food packages. I
know. I hear the moans. You're moaning with good
reason. Turns out, those labels aren't always completely
honest, and we will need to do some math.
And rather than explain every line, I will touch on the 5 or 6
most important things to know, this week and next.
Notice that the labels contain 2 kinds of information.
First, it tells you general information in the footnote on the
bottom. And second, it gives you information specific to
the item, including serving size, calories, and grams of each
So let's talk about serving size first. Do you actually
use only 2 tablespoons of salad dressing on the salad you
pulled from a fast food window? Do you know what 2
tablespoons of dressing looks like? Usually, the dressing
package holds 2.5 SERVINGS of dressing. So if you've
squeezed the entire package on the salad, and patted yourself
on the back for choosing a salad, there's a good chance you've
consumed somewhere around 600 extra calories by eating that
salad with all the dressing. And we haven't even begun to
discuss the dressing's ingredients.
But perhaps the most important thing to know about the serving
size is since the FDA has mandated disclosure of trans fats on
food labels--it must be reported if it totals more than 0.5gms
per serving--some clever manufacturers are reducing the serving
size to keep the gms/serving just below 0.5gms.
This means you must pay close attention to serving sizes
because the last thing you want to ingest is trans fats.
If you put a dish of trans fats on your deck, no animal will
eat it, and six months from now, it will not have
changed. That stability is what makes hydrogenated fats
so attractive to food manufacturers who need products that can
sit on warehouse shelves for weeks--perhaps months--without
Ok. This might take more than two installments. But
it's extremely important to be able to read these labels, so
for the next couple of weeks, we'll take a close