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Ready to lose 8 pounds without even trying?

BY ELIZABETH BORELLI

Ready to lose 8 pounds without even trying?If you’re expecting a diet pill or calorie cutting plan, you may be disappointed.  The only investment you’ll need to make for this weight loss regimen is maybe a good pair of reading glasses.

A full 70% of food we eat is processed.  True that’s a high number, but since my favorite whole grain bread ranks on that list, I’m not throwing in the towel and neither should you.  The trick is to being to make more informed choices.  Luckily no special skills are required to recognize the good from the garbage.  I’m not suggesting you no longer enjoy your treats if you can’t live without them, just know that some treats are trickier than others.  The secret to which is which lies in the small print on the side of the package.

Women who regularly read ingredients labels weigh an average of eight pounds less than the rest of us.  I know those tiny numbers are confusing, but even when you don’t know what all of them mean, you know enough to weed out the bad stuff.

So ignore the claims on the front of the package, focus on the ingredients.  They’re listed in terms of weight, starting at the top.  Here is what to look for:

  • If you can’t pronounce it or you’ve never seen it in an grocery store, you probably don’t want to eat it.   I recently demonstrated this concept with a local bakery store muffin I was able to get the ingredients list for.  I spelled out some of the ingredients that fit the “don’t eat” category, including mono & diesters of fatty acids, BHT, artificial flavor, propolene glycole and cellulose gum.  “Isn’t propolene glycol antifreeze?” one astute observer asked.  Why yes, but according to Wikipedia,  it’s generally recognized as safe for use in food(!!!)
  • On average we consume five times the daily recommended allowance of added sugars,  a key factor in diet-related disease.  One teaspoon of granulated white sugar is equal to about 4.2 grams, so 10 grams of sugar in 1/2 cup of breakfast cereal or yogurt is 2 1/2 teaspoons.  Since the American Heart Association recommends no more than 6 teaspoons per day for women (10 for men), be careful, they add up!
  • Fat content should be no more than 20% of the total calorie content and should contain no trans fats.How to tell? Read the Nutrition Label on the back of the package, find the total calories per serving, and divide by 5. If fat calories are less than 20% of total calories, or if it contains hydrogenated anything, put it back.
  • Make sure you’re buying whole grains to up your levels of healthy, dietary fiber, a nutrient most Americans are 50% deficient in. Claims announcing “Whole-wheat” or “Multi-grain” on the front are not the same thing.Read the Nutrition Label carefully to make sure the word “whole” precedes every grain listed, or look for the “100% whole-grain” claim. This is one term regulated by the FDA to ensure that all grains used in the product are, in fact, whole.
  • Avoid products containing high-fructose corn syrup and those containing sodium nitrate, a preservative that’s commonly used in processed meats like bacon, jerky, and lunch meats.  High-fructose corn syrup is a  highly processed substance is more harmful to humans than regular sugar, contributing to weight gain by affecting normal appetite functions, and studies link sodium nitrate to diabetes and heart disease.

These general guidelines are more of a safety net than a proactive nutrition plan, but familiarizing yourself with the basics is a great place to start.  Reading labels is time-consuming and kind of annoying.  You’ll be surprised and probably a little frustrated but what you may find.

But take the time to start replacing your default products that contain ingredients that create the blood sugar spikes that produce late afternoon crashes, hunger pangs and food cravings that lead to overeating.  Once you get into the habit of reading ingredients labels, your diet will naturally improve, and so eventually will your weight, no calorie counting required.

 

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