Labels Lead to Healthy Living

The saying goes, "You are what you eat." But many of us don't really know what it is we're eating. A closer look at the grocery cart, and you'll see that not all Cheetohs are created equal!

Cotton-O'Neil Heart Center dietician Melissa Moore said she found a low-carb version of the snack and a natural version, along with the original. She says each has different levels of saturated fat, cholesterol and carbs, and serving sizes may differ as well.

That's why Moore says you have to read the food labels. The first thing she says you should spot is the serving size. She said many people may eat an entire bag of a snack, only to find out it's really three or four servings.

Once you know the portion size, Moore says, take note of calories, then check the other items highlighted - fat, sodium, cholesterol and fiber.

Moore says you want sodium to be low, so you get no more than a total of 2400 milligrams a day. On the flip side, she says, fiber should be higher. She suggests trying to eat foods with three grams of fiber per serving. One clue to help you out is the recommended daily allowance percentages. Moore says foods with 20-percent or more would be considered high, while five-percent or less would be low.

Moore says it's important to read all labels. These days, she's found products like chicken breasts and even frozen vegetables that have sodium added.

Moore admits it may be confusing, but knowing what you're looking for will help feed good health. You can learn more about the topic with Stormont-Vail's "Smart Heart Label Reading Tours." They're offered Mondays thru November 8 at area Dillon's stores. To register, call HealthConnections at 354-5225, or www.stormontvail.org, under the HealthConnections community calendar section.


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