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Nutrition Labels

Tonight after my run (yes, I’m back to running an EASY 2 miles after the marathon), I went to the grocery store. I needed to buy ingredients to bake cookies for my fabulous students. (They really are awesome and deserve a prize.) I wandered down the nutrition aisle to see what’s new in the diet food/supplement world. It really is all overwhelming and I didn’t have time to read all the ingredient labels like I would have liked. However, I did take a look at a few things.

First, was this really large container of Power Pak Pudding. It reminded me of a container of cat food for some reason.

Here is my problem with this product… On the surface, it looks like a good idea. High protein, no sugar, gluten free, lactose free, and low carb. But one should wonder how is it possible to have all these fabulous things in one delicious chocolate pudding? Enter the ingredient list. Okay, so it has a lot of vitamins and minerals. Wait, I take that back. No it doesn’t. Ok, it has a lot of protein, 30 grams to be exact. But guess what, so does a chicken breast and it’s only one ingredient. In addition to 30 grams of protein, it has sucralose, acesulfame K, carrageenan, and sodium polyphosphate. Sucralose, acesulfame K, and carrageenan have all been linked to cancer and sodium polyphosphate is also in your laundry detergent. I think that chicken breast is looking a lot more appetizing…

The product right above this pudding was Muscle Milk Light. This product always bothers me and maybe you can figure out why …

Yes, that’s correct. It contains no milk. Generally speaking, that’s not a bad thing but the name of the product is Muscle Milk. How does that work? The ingredient list is a lot longer for Muscle Milk but it also contains more vitamins and minerals than the pudding. However, it also has the fake sugar and detergent ingredient. Again, that chicken has my name written all over it.

My point is this – in a world where we are inundated with choices, education is essential. If you were just to look at the front of the package, it might seem like cat food pudding is your new best snack.  But understanding what you are putting in your body is way more important than saving 50 calories here or there. I mean a 100 calorie greek yogurt  that tastes like key lime pie? Something’s not right…

Happy Trails and Happy Running,


8 Comments Post a comment
  1. I totally agree with eating whole foods! And I’m totally against eating ‘healthy’ foods full of synthetic substitutes. Whenever I bake, I use butter and real sugar, and I advocate for using these whole ingredients. Whenever I replenish from a run, I have good old chocolate milk before my shower and wholesome dinner afterwards. I don’t think it’s appropriate to say one lives a healthy life when all they’re doing is substituting synthetic ingredients and chemicals for the real things. That’s my two cents 🙂

    November 9, 2012
    • I couldn’t agree more. Back in September I went to a fitness conference and one of the sponsors was FitMixer. Their amino acid supplement drink had sucralose and red 40. To me, that was sending the wrong message. It shouldn’t be about saving as many calories as possible with the use of chemicals. Health should be about healthy, wholesome foods.
      Thanks for your two cents 🙂 Love it!

      November 9, 2012
  2. It’s amazing what you will find on the back of various food labels. I was diagnosed with Celiacs disease, along with 6 cross-“allergens”/cross-reactants, in August. While I am glad to have a diagnosis, I have learned a lot from having to look at labels. It’s a lot easier to just eat simple foods, versus something prepared/potentially unhealthy.

    November 9, 2012
    • Yes! Simple is key! It can become too easy to buy prepared, packaged foods for the sake of time but the potential harmful effects just aren’t worth it. I grew up eating processed and fast food. Ever since I gave up the packaged foods, my relationship with food and health has completely changed. We really should teach nutrition in school 🙂

      And on another note, have you read Wheat Belly? I haven’t finished it yet but it’s a great book so far.

      November 9, 2012
      • Nutrition isn’t taught in your schools?????? Shouldn’t it be part of your Home Economics curriculum or Health class? I’m a teacher, teaching Computing and Home Economics, and one of the first things my students do in H.E. is learn about a ‘healthy eating plate’ and the different food groups. I do a whole unit on healthy eating and healthy substitutes.

        November 10, 2012
  3. I read labels all the time and try to be an informed consumer.

    November 9, 2012
    • Being informed is essential! Half of the time in the classes I teach, I spend part of class teaching them about the ingredients in their pop tarts and honey buns. I like to call my it Spanish/Nutrition 101 🙂

      November 9, 2012

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