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GoodDeeds Tip of the Month
January 2015
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Focus On: Food Labeling

We are all keeping a closer eye on what it is we are eating these days. And, carefully reading those food labels has become quite important in our efforts to eat more healthfully. But, it's not always easy to decipher what all that food jargon means. Here are some explanations to help make more sense of it all, and give you some food for thought!  

  • Extra Lean - To be considered extra lean, the meat must meet strict requirements by the FDA. Every 3.5 ounces of meat must have fewer than 5 grams of total fat, fewer than 2 grams of saturated fat and fewer than 95 milligrams of cholesterol. These amounts take a very small chunk out of your daily fat allowance. So extra lean is absolutely the way to go, if you want to cut fat from your diet.
  • Low Calorie or Light - The FDA considers a low calorie food to be 40 calories or fewer per serving. You need to be much more careful with something considered light as it may not have any fewer calories than the original but have a lighter flavor, texture or color. For example, light corn syrup refers to the product's color not the number of calories.
  • Low Fat or Reduced Fat - According to the FDA, any foods that are "low fat" must have fewer than 3 grams of fat per serving. As for a reduced fat food, it must contain at least 25% less fat than the original of that product. Be careful with both low and reduced fat because there may be nutritional trade-offs, such as more sodium and sugar to improve the taste.
  • Made With Real Fruit - Real fruit may mean the whole fruit but also may mean fruit extract or fruit juice, both of which might contain fewer nutrients and more sugar than does the whole fruit. Plus, there are no guidelines as to how much "real fruit" needs to be in the product to have it listed on the package. The only way to determine if the food contains real fruit is to check the ingredients.
  • Multigrain - Multigrain means that the food contains two or more grains. But those grains are not necessarily whole grains, which are a better nutritional choice than refined grains. So, for the healthier choice, be sure that whatever you are eating lists "whole wheat," "whole oats" or another "whole" grain as the first ingredients.

Understanding what all those food labels are actually telling you, will get you off to a healthy start to 2015. To learn more about keeping healthy or any other subject in which you are interested, contact GoodDeeds. We'll do extensive research to get you the "skinny" on any topic that is of importance to you.


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