Saturday, 8 April 2017

30 Day Cowlean Challenge, Day Nineteen: Always Read the Label

Hi guys,

Weigh-in: 208.4 lbs
Calories: 4525

As far as weigh-ins go, I suppose this is the closest I get to being ashamed. It was an odd day food wise, but there was a “calorie creep” where I thought to myself, “oh that would be nice as a snack”, or “I’ll have that with dinner”, and the calories ended up being horrendously high. I think my problem is often that I just enjoy eating for the act itself, rather than being hungry. I definitely need to work on that for the final ten days; if that means reducing the size of or even skipping a meal if I’m not hungry, then that’s fine! I’m fairly sure I won’t starve.

Today I want to highlight something I’ve been doing for years now, and would recommend everyone else does. Simply: before you buy and eat something, turn the package around and read the label.

Unfortunately, the front doesn’t cut it. Nutritional authorities have highlighted some information, but often it’s either not enough or they’re covering stuff that isn’t actually important. Plus, they use a colour coded system which, in my opinion, is based on horrendously wrong dietary guidelines.

So the first thing to do is check the macronutrients, i.e. calories, sugar, protein, etc, per 100g. Often times, the producer will try and confuse you if the product is unhealthy. For example, a pack of sweets might say X grams of sugar per seven sweets. No one is ever just going to have seven of the damn things, they’re eating the whole pack! The company has arbitrarily picked a “serving size” so that they can say stuff like “less than 100 calories per serving!”. So you’re left with working out how many servings there are per pack, or looking at the total weight and doing a calculation off of the weight of the whole thing. What an effort!

As a rule of thumb, if you’re left confused, having to reach for a calculator to work out how much sugar there is, then the manufacturer is well aware of how unhealthy the food is. Stay clear.

Another thing to do, is scan the list of ingredients. A common health-sphere recommendation is that if you cannot pronounce some of the ingredients, then don’t eat it! The same thing could be said for anything going on your skin (make-up, shampoo, moisturiser, etc.); it’s all being absorbed and affecting your health even if you don’t eat it!

By doing this, you’ll also be on the lookout for types of grains and industrial oils i.e. whether the food is “compliant” with your diet, to use a technical term.

Overall, the lesson to take from today is that the front of a packet was designed to be seen. If you were a food manufacturer, how would you want your product to be perceived? Usually, they like to invoke “natural images” like the sunrise and fertile fields. Turn it around, and suddenly there are rules dictating what they can and can’t say. This simple act takes one step towards lifting the lid on the sausage factory of food.

Until tomorrow,

P.S. I realise I’m a day behind schedule, once I have two ideas for posts in quick succession, I’ll put out two in one day!

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