Friday, May 25, 2012

Guest Post: Food Labeling - Look Past it!

Hi Everyone,

I am Jaren’s guest blogger for the day! Hopefully you guys will like what I yap about as much as I love sharing interesting nutrition information and the AWESOME interworkings of the body.

A little about myself.  My name is Logann, and I’m Jaren’s little sister, but also big sister because I’m 4 inches taller than her, revenge at its finest. I started college as a petroleum engineering major, switched to audio engineering about two years later, and then ended up in nutrition. It was where I was always supposed to be.  It’s the perfect mix of science and practicality, which for my somewhat out-of-control nerdiness is good. I attend the University of Texas at Austin and just “walked” in the Spring graduation commencement but I have to finish up my degree this summer.

I have a kitty named Winston, Sir Winston when he is being cute and Prince Winston when he is acting like a 3 year old child.  He just turned 2 and is a black brown tabby and my best bud. We play fetch, go on walks, play chase…ya he is cool. Oh and if you were wondering I do watch what my kitty eats too, he just isn’t himself when he is thicker. I also have a boyfriend who I met in the music school while studing as an audio engineering major, who just received his masters in Jazz saxophone performance. He is pretty cool and watches what he eats on his own, HALLELUJAH!!! I just jump in when he is curious about how components work (is my nerd showing yet?).

Jaren has been dying to get me on here and get my opinions on things.  She always calls me and then I end of ranting for like thirty minutes. So today I thought I would start off easy and focus on how I dodge food labeling confusion and then branch off from there in the later posts.  Or if anyone has any pressing questions I would love to address them.  I have a love for how food functions at the molecular level and tend to nerd out pretty hard but I’m good at explaining it in a way that doesn’t make your brain want to pack up and leave. So questions like “how does obesity relate to inflammation and cancer” or “how does omega-3 act as an anti inflammatory agent” or “can what I eat before and during pregnancy affect my child's genetics for the rest of their life” (which is yes by the way). So any question, give me time I’ll give you an answer.

One thing I often rant about is food labeling and health claims.  It’s the main reason why my boyfriend avoids grocery shopping with me because it takes me about 5 minutes to pick out a yogurt or breadcrumbs.  The main rule I use… don’t believe any of it, just look past it and get down to the nitty gritty.  All they do is create confusion and are typically misleading. I find that the biggest places to sabotage your diet are cereal, granola, bars (energy, granola, any of those) and yogurt.  They are either loaded with sugar or loaded with fat.  This is why I don’t look at health claims. Yogurt almost always says “fat-free” great, but that is just to distract from the 21 grams of sugar in a 6 oz. serving. 

This is what I do. First I look at the calories, does it make sense with the portion size? Next, I go straight to the sugar. Anything pushing 10g per serving, I get suspicious. Then I look at fiber, if it is a cereal or bar, that baby better be loaded or I walk away.  Kashi tends to have the best proportions of low sugar, high fiber, and high protein.  And really that is what I look for in any packaged food I buy: LOW sugar, HIGH protein, and HIGH fiber.  Fiber is your friend and it’s rare that you will exceed the recommend amount. I don’t buy many packaged foods besides pita, cereal, bread (Ezekiel for life), yogurt, hummus, and oatmeal (steel cut…so yummy).  I use this rule if I want to buy pancake batter or anything off the beaten path.

One more note with yogurt, and I’ll let your eyes rest.  Greek yogurt is great, but there are many phonies out there.  In plain yogurt, there should only be milk and cultures. Some good options are Fage, Oikos, and Chobani. 

Hopefully you guys enjoyed that rant, and I always love questions and there are no BAD questions.


Logann & Winston

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