Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What's in your food?

I've been teased at work for eating healthy. Even my supervisor has challenged me on the snacks I eat just to be surprised that Nature Valley granola bars, my favorite, doesn't contain the articifial preservatives and chemicals found in other snack bars.

I'll be honest, I haven't always been this way. I use to love eating junk food as much as the next person. Perhaps it all changed when I met my wife. Unlike me at the time, she read the nutrition facts label on the side panel and on the back of boxes and cans before purchasing. 

Soon after, I said good-bye to the fast food restaurants and to the high-sodium processed foods floating in artificial preservatives and chemicals.

Thank god I did, though. Back then, I recall experiencing bloating, stomach pains, headaches and hives after eating junk food. I didn't connect the dots until two years ago after eating Chinese buns I purchased at an Asian supermarket that contained high sodium and MSG.

An article I found in Austin Fit Magazine discusses the history and importance of the nutrition facts label that is found on all packaged items. As the article points out, the first three ingredients listed on the label make the bulk of the product, and it's important to heed to the ingredients. 

Girl Scouts Peanut Butter Sandwiches

I use my favorite Girl Scout cookies, the Peanut Butter Sandwiches, as an example. The first three ingredients are enriched flour, sugar, and peanuts.  The other ingredients include oats, vegetable shortening, several corn products and sodium. In addition, three cookies contain 135 mg of sodium and 160 calories.

In the patry, I found a can of Del Monte Sloppy Joe that has been sitting in there untouched for almost a year. I haven't used it because everytime I've wanted to make sloppy joe we don't have ground beef.

The first three ingredients in the sloppy joe include tomato puree, corn syrup and distilled vinegar. It also contains worcestershire sauce, which has more corn syrup, and there's about 440 mg of sodium in a quarter serving of sloppy joe (enough to make a sandwich). Eek! That's a lot of sodium. Perhaps I shouldn't make it after all. 

Del Monte Sloppy Joe Sauce Original

I can't say I'm the most healthiest person or that I eat healthy all the time. I do enjoy a Whataburger or a Wendy's spicy chicken burger once in a while. I do sometimes sneak a Girl Scout cookie after everyone is sound asleep. And in no way do I want to dictate what you should eat and not eat. 

I guess what I would like for you, the reader, to get out of this blog posting is that the nutrition facts label is there for a purpose. It is there to educate the shopper of what is inside the can or box before its purchased and consumed.

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