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Don't Always Believe the Labels

Posted by Kavita Jhaveri-Patel on with 0 Comments

by Kavita Patel 

 

Have you ever asked yourself, when you see all of those labels on cereal boxes, if the labeling is 100% true? It seems to me when I peruse through a grocery store that the cereal aisle is something really special. There are markings all over box from General Mills boasting about whole grain, lower cholesterol in Cheerios, 100% nutrition 11 vitamins and minerals in Total, a strong heart in Kellogs’ Smart Start cereal, etc.

 

These are just some of the claims made, and these are for some of the “healthier” cereals on the market.

 

 I recently read an amazing article by Marion Nestle, about the American Heart Association’s (AHA) stance on sugar intake. The American Heart Association says that the average American is consuming 22 teaspoons of sugar daily.

 

Marion points out in the article “A teaspoon is 4 grams.  A gram is 4 calories.  So the 275 calories in that default 20-ounce soda you picked up from a vending machine come from nearly 70 teaspoons.”  That is crazy when you put it that way.  Think about that for a minute. 

 

You’re probably saying I had no idea I was consuming 140 teaspoons of sugar daily, while others maybe thinking that "this is why I drink diet!" Just because you drink diet doesn’t mean you are better off, because whether you drink regular or diet you are still consuming an artificially colored, artificially flavored, and artificially sweetened beverage. So, you may be saving on calories with the diet, but that doesn’t mean you will saving yourself on the health or the weight hassle.

 

So how are sugar and fertility related? Well, your sugar intake, as the AHA suggests, not only has a hand in heart health but with fertility as well, (read: “Sugar And Fertility: What The Heck Do They Have in Common?”

 

The Sugary Facts

If you look at the ingredients listed in Kellogg’s Smart Start, it reads something like this:

OAT BLEND (WHOLE OATS, OAT BRAN), RICE, SUGAR, MAPLE AND BROWN SUGAR FLAVORED OAT CLUSTERS (SUGAR, TOASTED OATS [ROLLED WHOLE OATS, SUGAR, CANOLA OIL WITH TBHQ AND CITRIC ACID TO PRESERVE FRESHNESS, MOLASSES, HONEY, BHT FOR FRESHNESS, SOY LECITHIN], WHEAT FLAKES, CRISP RICE [RICE, SUGAR, MALT, SALT], CORN SYRUP, POLYDEXTROSE, HONEY, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS, CINNAMON, BHT FOR FRESHNESS, ARTIFICIAL VANILLA FLAVOR), HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, MALT FLAVORING, POTASSIUM CHLORIDE, SALT, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, VITAMIN A PALMITATE, BAKING SODA, ASCORBIC ACID (VITAMIN C), NIACINAMIDE, ZINC OXIDE, CALCIUM PANTOTHENATE, REDUCED IRON, VITAMIN D, ALPHA TOCOPHEROL ACETATE (VITAMIN E), BHT (PRESERVATIVE), PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B6), RIBOFLAVIN (VITAMIN B2), THIAMIN HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B1), BETA CAROTENE (A SOURCE OF VITAMIN A), FOLIC ACID, VITAMIN B12.

 

As Marion suggested there are over 9 references to refined sugars above (bolded).  The moral of the story is don’t believe everything you read on the box, be your own investigator and figure out by reading not only the fancy claims on the front of the box or the nutrition label, but the ingredients section to really understand what you are eating.  Refined sugars throw off the body’s hormonal balance but so do the consumption of chemicals. Understanding the ingredients in labels is essential to maintaining health, and especially reproductive health. So, follow the tips outlined below when purchasing any type of packaged food.

 

The Takeaway

            5 - 10 ingredients or less should be listed on cereals you purchase

            As a general rule, organic ingredients are your best bet

            Always go for recognizable ingredients (you can identify with honey, but what is BHT?!)

            Look for natural forms of sugar such as, honey, molasses, maple syrup.

 

 

Footnotes: 

 

Article: Eat (aLot!) Less Sugar!, thedailygreen,

August 26th, 2009

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