Understanding Food Nutrition Labels And Nutritional Benefits Packaging Claims

For the best nutritional health and benefits from the foods that you eat, it is important to become educated about their nutrients and properties. This is necessary for you to understand how to create the best anti-inflammatory and properly balanced diet - and to be able to understand and evaluate nutrition labels and any health claims made on the packaging of the foods.

So, we have 2 issues to consider:

(1) misconceptions about the way different foods you eat might affect you nutritionally

(2) possibly misleading nutritional value from things not picked up on the nutrition label, or from the way a company might market its products

Eating Fat Does Not Make You Fat

One of the biggest misconceptions about food and nutritional health is with regards to fats - and that all fats are bad, or you need to stop eating fats because they will make you fat This is just not the case any more than categorically saying that protein or carbohydrates make you fat - you become overweight from any food if you are eating too many more calories than you are using, and you become fat from the way your body and cells store the foods that you eat.

Fats are both necessary for metabolism and other functions, and can be very beneficial as natural anti-inflammatories. The problem comes from the kind of fats you eat; there are good fats and bad fats. The fats in your diet that are most often discussed are the omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids.

If you are typical of most Westerners, you are eating 15 to as much as 30 times more omega-6 than omega-3 in your diet. This is something that is very nutritionally unhealthy, because the imbalance is highly inflammatory - and yes, eating too much of these fats are going to lead to being overweight and increased fat content.

And do note that eating fats does not cause increased amounts of insulin, which is a primary cause for fat storage - making eating the same amount of sugars like high-fructose corn syrup which does cause more insulin to be produced, a far big problem for fat cells to be stored.

Misleading Nutritional Claims On Labels And Food Packages

There are many situations where a food nutrition label is misleading, and the same goes with different nutritional claims that may be used [intentionally] when marketing and promoting a product - below are a few examples of this:

(1) Products labeled as being sugar-free and having no calories, but it contains carbohydrates. This is something that I saw when looking at a no calorie sports drink. I wouldn't drink it anyway because it was sweetened with Splenda, which is also when I saw that it had 4 grams of carbohydrate per serving.

It may not have calories from sugar, but carbohydrates have 4 calories per gram, or 16 calories per serving. Not that big of a deal, until you drink 4 bottles because you like the taste better than water, which is 8 servings - and now you have 128 of extra 'empty' calories that you weren't aware of.

(2) Product claims that it is 'extra' nutritionally healthy because it has omega-3 added. This seems to be the claim de jour these days, and seems to have become even more prevalent than probiotics being added to everything.