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Food Label Confusion

The attitude: “Seriously. I'm not reading my food labels. They are confusing and continue to be confusing.” I'll admit, I'm even confused sometimes and I'm supposed to be the nutrition expert. Luckily, there’s a simple way to look at labels. You need to put constraints or limits on what you should eat and what you should avoid. So how do you do that? Well, what diet are you on? What is your goal? Let’s use a carb cycling weight loss plan for an example.

Total carbs for the day: 200g

Carb amounts:

Breakfast= 0g

AM snack= 25g

Lunch= 50g

PM snack= 25g

Supper= 75g

PM snack= 25g


= 200grams carbs

Now that you have an idea of what your carbohydrate intake is supposed to be in our example, IT'S TIME TO GO SHOPPING!

When you go shopping, look at the carbs on the food label. The KISS method works great. Keep It Simple Stupid.

To begin, you look at the carbs on an Oreo package label and think, “It's 25g if I eat 12 cookies.” Let me interject........CMON! It is an Oreo. It's NOT in the plan. It's not in ANY healthy eating plan. Be smart and pick things you think are healthy. If it’s in question, just say NO. Back up from the organic “healthy” pastries section. It’s NOT healthy. Check out my “Going Free” article HERE.

So now that you know what you are looking for, choose easy foods to help you achieve your goals. In this example you are looking mainly at carbs. Some diets are different in which protein is the focus. Same concept.

4 step approach:

  1. Consider the food.

  2. Is the food seemingly healthy?

  3. Look at the label.

  4. Does the label reflect what you need?

I promise it gets easier with a little practice and some experience glancing at your labels.

Thank you for investing in your health!

Joseph Champa LRD, CSCS

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