Daily Challenge Sunday Sep. 26, 2010

Everyday Well-Being

Read the nutrition labels on 2 packages of food.

How to do it

Before you pour yourself a glass of juice or spread peanut butter on a piece of toast, take a minute to read the food label ("Nutrition Facts") on the outside of the package. How many servings does the package contain? How many calories are in a single serving? What percentage of the daily recommended amount of sodium does the food contain? Does it contain any cholesterol, saturated, or trans fats? Look to see how much sugar a single serving has, as well as the amount of protein.

Why it matters

Food labels can be important tools for making wise food choices. Often, the same packaged foods contain very different nutrients. For example, some varieties of orange juice contain calcium and others do not. Many packaged foods tend to be high in sodium and sugar (hiding as dextrose, fructose, galactose, high fructose corn syrup, lactose, malt, maltose, or muscovada). They also may contain cholesterol, saturated, and trans fats which you need to limit for heart health. In general, limiting the amount of processed (packaged) foods you eat is a great way to reduce your intake of sugar and salt, as well as fat and cholesterol.

Fun fact

Until the late 1700s sugar was a luxury that European nobility used to validate their rank and social power. It was so precious, in fact, it was called "white gold."


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