8/24/12

Read The Label: Learn To Read A Label

Recently I brought up the point that a lot of foods have hidden and unnecessary ingredients that can hamper anybody's diet plan. I then blankly told you to read the label when you buy. What i realized shortly after that is not everyone knows how to read a label. So in today's segment we'll dive in head first.

When you're buying something you need to look at all aspects; from the nutrient values to the ingredients themselves. Depending on your goals you're probably looking to avoid or consume certain things. For the sake of ease I'm going to assume everyone is on a low carb and therefore almost NO sugar diet. We'll start with peanut butter and view the different kinds.

Kind A.) a regular jar of peanut butter, run of the mill no hypes behind it. Look at it and decide what's wrong for a more natural low carb diet.















Let's start with the ingredients used to create peanut butter. Peanuts, evaporated cane juice, natural oil blend (Palm fruit and flaxseed oils), salt, molasses. This is not that bad of peanut butter but we still see a lot of sugar's and separate fat's added. Peanut's naturally have a good amount of their own fat's and don't need to be bogged down with others. Not to mention the evaporated cane juice and molasses are sugar additions that may appeal to a taste bud, but not so much to someone avoiding higher insulin responses. A good food will be mainly comprised of what you're looking for. What if you go to buy a steak and the ingredients are: Cow, maltodextrin, potatoes, salt, anchovies? I don't think we'd be eating this weirdbred cow anytime soon.

Next is the nutrition value and like iv'e already said this isn't that bad of a peanut butter. The fat content is high enough to account for the 145 calories from fat [roughly 9 calories per gr of fat at 16 gr of fat equals 144 calories]. The monounsaturated fat is higher than your average natural peanut butter because of the added flaxseed oils. This isn't a bad thing, but if we couldn't eat it from nature like that then it's probably [and this is a big probably] not as gut friendly. The sodium levels are not out of this world so i'll move past that for now. The average peanut butter that only containing peanuts has between 1-2 gr of sugar in it depending on the source of peanuts used. This means that this company has roughly 1-2  gr of added sugars. The sugar that naturally comes in peanuts would be more medium chain and less insulin impacting while the added sugar is going to have more of an effect.

Now we're going to move onto product B.) which is spouted as natural and what a peanut butter should look like.





















We'll start with ingredients first here too. It's peanuts, just peanuts; my only disclaimer is that if your allergic to peanut's don't eat this stuff.

Next comes the break down of the nutritional values. 150 calories come from the 16 gr of fat which fits the 9  calories per gram rule of thumb. Although this label doesn't show us the quantity of fat not from trans or sat fat the brand that i use has 8 gr monounsaturated fats and 5 gr polyunsaturated fat. When we look at the carbs it's good to see that there are more grams of fiber than there are of sugar. You're probably wondering why there are 6 g of carbs and only 3 gr represented below. This is because those carbs are between the more heavily impacting sugar carbs, and the almost non impacting fiber carbs. In other words they barely induce an insulin response, nothing to get your knickers in a knot about. This peanut butter is going to be a bit easier on the gut's ability to process because it's literally just peanuts.

A non related fact, but did you know that peanuts are legumes and more closely related to peas than nut's #themoreyouknow.

I find the best way to learn is usually by example so i hope that this helps. Just like our series What's The Buzz [which will come back when people request breakdowns on new supps] here we evaluate what food's we should be putting in our bodies. Don't mindlessly buy something without actually making sure the "natural" claim on the front matches the ingredients on the back.

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own; 1 COR 6:19

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About Me

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BS, MS - exercise Physiology
EPC - Board Certified Exercise Physiologist

Published Thesis
The impact of three different forms of warm up on performance


The Effects of Glucose Supplementation on Barbell Velocity and Fatiguability in Weightlifting - A pilot study"

Graduate from Midwestern State University, founder of Endunamoo Barbell Club, and Endunamoo Strength and Conditioning. Working to help athletes physically reach their goals and achieve scholarships while spiritually pouring into as many people as possible on all platforms.