Compared to 20 years ago, consumers now have access to a vast level of nutritional information. Food manufacturers are now required to specifically outline the ingredients plus the nutritional breakdown of their products. Consumers, though, will be most familiar with the traffic light system of classifying the likes of fat and sugar as green, amber, or red.
The presentation of nutritional information is a wonderful advancement for savvy consumers, who are now in a position to control their diets easier than ever before. However, interpreting the information can still be difficult for nutrition novices, and this is because positive information on the front can be cancelled out by negative information on the back. Here, we will point out the biggest nutritional pitfalls to avoid.
The Transformation of Sugar
The guideline daily intake of sugar is recommended to be 90g. Interestingly, the World Health Organisation has even recommended that daily sugar consumption should be halved to 45g. To put that in perspective, 250ml of an Innocent smoothie can contain as much as 34g of sugar. Were the recommended daily allowance to be set at 45g then you would be left with just 9g left to consume.
The issue with sugar is that people do not realise that there is sugar in lots of foods they consume. Even wholemeal products have small amounts of sugar, so just imagine what white bread will include. Consumption of sugary drinks and snacks will not be the only sugar that you intake. Check the packaging of anything that you are unsure about.
The Fat Myth
Nuts used to be looked upon as potential catalysts for cholesterol, with nutritionists previously including them in the same warning category as red meats, cheeses, and creams. However, nutritional science has since proven that nuts are a fantastic source of protein because the likes of walnuts contain omega-3 essential fatty acids.
Compared to a burger fried in oil, a handful of walnuts without added salt or sugar will actually help to lower your cholesterol and improve the health of your heart. In stark contrast, fatty burgers are one of the many foods that contribute to poor heart health in the western world. The fact of the matter is that not all fats are bad for you.
The key here is to avoid those that are high in saturated fats. To offer guidance, the recommended daily intake of regular fat is a generous 70g. However, the recommended intake for saturated fat has been set at 20g, which is three and a half times smaller. Always prioritise checking the saturated fat content of food. This is where the real damage can occur.
Dangers of Carbohydrates
When consuming the non-whole wheat versions of bread, pasta, and rice in high quantities, you are placing a great strain on your body. You see, those carbohydrates are converted to energy at a lightning pace, which means that you need to be ready to use that energy from the outset. But the problem is that most of us will be sitting down in work or in front of the TV.
When we don’t use the energy created from consuming carbohydrates, our bodies first breaks them down into a form of sugar. In the event that the sugar is not used, our bodies will take the excess energy and store it as fat in our body for later use. That is why sugar and carbohydrates are two of the biggest reasons why people put on weight that they later struggle to lose. Whole wheat is the logical alternative for steady energy distribution.
Out of all the foods that you eat, how much consideration do you give to the protein content? Well, it should be more. Protein is what will help you stay fuller for longer, and thus it will leave you less susceptible to wild cravings. In a typical day, your diet will be much more effective for consuming in the region of 40g of lean protein.
The second point to make about protein is that you cannot wait until your evening meal for consumption. You need to start your day with protein at breakfast and then again at lunch. These are the meals that will carry you through the day. There is no shortage of protein in the world, with excellent options including Greek yogurt, soy, beans, lentils, chickpeas, chicken, turkey, tuna, and vegetarian meat alternatives.
That advice can easily help you boost the effectiveness of your daily diets.
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