This is a big week. The week you and your family begin your transition from fast and processed food to real food. You’ve been wanting to make this change for a while, but you just haven’t been sure where to start. It can be really overwhelming. I remember the confusion well. It was just a few years ago that I was buried under information and indecision. Today, we dig a bit deeper into some common food buzz words that you see on food packaging. We start our discussion with why you need to beware of the terms “sugar free” and “fat free.”
Why you should beware of the terms fat free and sugar free. There is always more to the story. Click To Tweet
If you were around in the 80s and 90s you likely try to avoid fat at all costs. We were taught that fat is a dietary evil. Recent research has shown that fat isn’t as bad as we were once lead to believe. According to the Diabetic Connect website, “There are good fats and bad fats. Avocados for instance have good fats, but deep fried foods — not so much.” Sugar has been found to be the real problem. Fat free foods are often loaded with lots of sugar. They need something to make them taste good so that you buy them over and over. Low fat, but high calorie foods are not the answer. Look for foods that are naturally low in fat and even healthy fats like avocados, nuts, and even butter.
“Sugar free” sounds healthy right? It sure is if we are talking about foods that naturally do not contain sugar. Foods like non-starchy vegetables (cucumbers and celery), whole grains, and beans. According to LiveStrong.com, ” Currently, there is no differentiation between natural and added sugars on a food label. By July 2018, all food labels will be more clear and list the amount of added sugars along with total sugars. Until then, to limit added sugars, check ingredient labels.” The other issue is that sugar free foods often pull out the sugar and add in the artificial sweeteners.
There is mixed research on the safeness of artificial sweeteners. Many have only been on the market for 10-20 years. It’s hard to know the long-term health affects. Until all of that is sorted out, avoiding artificial sweeteners seems like a good idea when you are wanting to eat a traditional real food diet. According to the University of California, San Francisco’s Diabetes Education Online, “Some foods made with artificial sweeteners may have more calories or fat than the original sugar-sweetened product. This may be the case with desserts and baked goods. Read food labels to compare products for serving sizes, calories and fat. Choosing a smaller portion of a sugar-sweetened product may be lower in calories than the artificially sweetened version!”
Good luck with this week’s challenge. I would love to see your progress. Share food label pictures and questions in the Facebook group and if you are on Twitter or Instagram use #RFEChallenge. Your pictures will certainly help and encourage us all to make healthier changes for our families. Please leave me a comment below if you have any questions or want to share your progress with us. I can’t wait to hear from you!
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