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11 Health Food Labels that Are Completely Meaningless (Slideshow)

11 Health Food Labels that Are Completely Meaningless (Slideshow)

What does “all-natural” even mean?

Sure, there might be peaches and oranges on the box, but the only “real fruit” in the food itself might be white grape juice concentrate, kicked up with a heaping spoonful of “real” high fructose corn syrup.

Made with Real Fruit

Sure, there might be peaches and oranges on the box, but the only “real fruit” in the food itself might be white grape juice concentrate, kicked up with a heaping spoonful of “real” high fructose corn syrup.

Made with Whole Grains

It’s a good rule of thumb to be wary any time you see “made with” on a label, because sure, there might be a pinch of a whole grain of some sort, it’s most likely a completely negligible amount.

A Good Source of Fiber

This one is tricky, because it all comes down to what type of fiber the food is a good source of. Soluble and insoluble fibers, like the kind found in oat bran, for example, are useful to your body. Isolated fiber, however, like polydextrose and maltodextrin, is most likely worthless from a nutritional standpoint. So again, look at the ingredients list before believing the box.

Contains Omega-3

There are three types of omega-3 fatty acids, and the variety found in flax seeds doesn’t have the same nutritional benefits as those found in fatty fish. So if you see flax powder tacked onto an ingredient list (or if the eggs or milk are from an animal fed flax seeds), it’s most likely only in there so they can tack on the omega-3 label, and it won’t benefit you much from a nutritional standpoint.


First of all, adding hormones or steroids to poultry or pork has always been illegal, so if you see “Raised without Hormones” on your package of chicken, you’re allowed to respond with “duh.” As for beef, the USDA has no way to verify the claim, so producers are essentially free to make the claim whether it’s true or false.


Creatas/ Thinkstock

The term “free-range” usually conjures images of happy chickens gallivanting about on the open prairie, but in reality the USDA only requires about five minutes of open-air access per day, which can mean no more than a hole to stick their head through. As for eggs and beef, there’s no standard for calling those “free-range” whatsoever.


Labeling a food “all-natural” is a quick way to get consumers to think that the product is healthier than others because it comes from nature. In fact, “all-natural” is an extremely general and vague term that the FDA doesn’t even have an officially recognized definition for. According to the USDA, meat can be labeled “all-natural” as long as it doesn’t contain any artificial ingredients or chemical preservatives; it can, however, be pumped full of broth or saline water. And contrary to what some may believe, “all-natural” doesn’t mean “GMO-free.”

No Additives

There is in fact an official definition of “additive” that the USDA and FDA go by: “ingredients that are added to food to influence texture, taste, preservation, flavor, color, or nutrition.” However, “no additives” is a general claim that’s not enforced by any organization, so when a food company tacks that onto their label, it very well could mean absolutely nothing.

Raised Without Antibiotics

Just about every farmed animal is given low-level antibiotics during its lifetime, because without them they’d most likely fall victim to one of the many diseases that can make their way through slaughterhouses. For this reason, the USDA has actually banned the use of the term “antibiotic-free.” In order to get around that pesky regulation, most producers now just say “raised without antibiotics” or “no antibiotics administered.” There’s no verification system in place to prove whether producers are lying or not.


There’s no universally accepted USDA definition for “humanely raised,” and it’s not regulated, so any producer can claim that their meat is raised humanely whether that’s true or false. If you want to be certain, however, look for the Certified Humane® label, which means that the slaughterhouses are inspected by independent companies annually, and a 28-member committee has signed off on it.


A report issued earlier this year found that many of the “sustainably-raised” claims on meat packages were impossible to verify. Consumers are willing to shell out more cash for sustainably-raised meat, but there’s no scientifically-established definition for what that even means.

Small Bites

Many people in the nutrition blogosphere firmly believe calories are meaningless when it comes to weight control.

It is their belief that weight is simply affected by diet composition (ie: 3,000 calories of a low-carb diet do not cause weight gain, while 2,000 of a higher-carb diet do).

Carbohydrates usually take the fall as causing weight gain and obesity.

Please riddle me this, then.

How do you explain anorexia nervosa?

These people -- including the runway model you see pictured here -- are severely underweight as a result of cutting total calories .

The majority of people living with anorexia have diets that, while extremely low in calories, consist mainly of carbohydrates (typical intake includes a large proportion of vegetables, fruits, and low-calorie foods like ricecakes and fat-free Jello).

In fact, the majority of clinical anorexia cases involve people on very low calorie diets that have virtually no fat or protein.

Don't just take my word for it.

A report by the American Dental Hygienists' Association states that "individuals with anorexia tend to ingest a lower than normal amount of food. However, the proportion of carbohydrates to protein and fats is higher than in the normal population."


Andy, the photo that accompanies your post just scares me.

That is partially why I chose it -- it clearly demonstrates the ravaging toll an eating disorder like anorexia takes on a person's body.

The most disturbing part of it all is that rather than be in a treatment program, this woman is on a runway.

Andy wrote, ". the majority of clinical anorexia cases involve people on very low calorie diets that have virtually no fat or protein."

With no fat or protein the risk of mineral deficiencies increases. Here's a quote from

"A deficiency of the mineral zinc in eating disordered patients has been reported by several researchers. It is a little-known fact that a deficiency in the mineral zinc actually causes loss of taste acuity (sensitivity) and appetite. In other words, zinc deficiency may contribute directly to reducing the desire to eat, enhancing or perpetuating a state of anorexia. What may start out as a diet motivated from a desire, whether reasonable or not, to lose weight, accompanied with a natural desire to eat, may turn into a physiological desire not to eat, or some variation on this theme."

Vitamin and mineral deficiencies aren't necessarily about fats and protein.

Some vitamins (ie: vitamin C) are not found in proteins or fats.

The risk of deficiencies increases, very simply, with very low calorie diets.

While Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat soluble, no minerals are (thereby, fat intake has nothing to do with mineral deficiency).

You're talking about two separate things here in regards to weight gain versus weight loss.

If you cut calories below maintenance, no matter what the composition, people lose weight.

On the other hand, if you are eating mostly protein and fat, you can eat more and not gain weight (because insulin is low).

Michael Eades just wrote about this.

When you talk about opposite reactions, the variables need to be similar.

For instance, the more water you put in a pot, the longer it takes to boil.

The time for a rolling boil to be reached, assuming the same temperature is used at all times, depends on how much water is in the pot.

Similarly, it's only logical that if consuming too few calories results in weight LOSS, then consuming too many calories results in weight GAIN.

The human body does not work like a pot of boiling water. You are trying to dismiss the idea through a poor analogy.

Overfeeding and underfeeding do not work the same way, though I know this seems illogical on the surface. But don't take my word for it. If you actually look at the overfeeding research studies and read Taubes, Eades, etc., you can see this.

If you want a quick look at the science of how this works, here's a good paper:

How does that explain the fact that we are eating the same amount of carbohydrates now as we did in 1909?

The main difference between our present diet and one in 1909? More calories.

I also direct you to this literature review by Dr. Glenn A. Gaesser, published last year in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association:

I know you and your fellow low-carbers will very likely automatically dismiss it since it comes from the ADA, but thought I would share it anyway.

I am not a "low-carber", whatever that is.

I agree that more calories are behind the obesity problem, but you missed my point completely. Let me try again:

Overeating in a low-insulin state does not necessarily lead to weight gain.

Overeating in the form of a typical American diet (high-insulin state) leads to weight gain.

Thank you for the clarification. From your earlier statements, it appeared that you supported low-carb lifestyles.

I don't think the insulin state someone is overeating in matters.

The one connection I can make regarding what you say is that, usually (not always,) foods that significantly spike up insulin levels do not tend to promote satiety, thereby leaving people more vulnerable to the consumption of additional calories.

When your superscary supermodel wakes up in the morning, she weighs the same every day. She starved herself to look like that most likely, but her maintenance level has probably adjusted to 1,000 calories per day. Is that really what we want? Should we really be cutting calories to lose weight, or does that just bring our maintenance level down lower?

Besides, I am leaner than she is, as evidenced by visible abdominal muscles, and I eat well over 3,000 calories per day without restricting any food group with very moderate amounts of physical activity.

In other words, creating a calorie deficit only changes the maintenance level. So it doesn't seem like a good strategy, but in fact the worst possible strategy one could use to lose weight.

"If eating well makes you gain weight, then you have a damaged metabolism and you need to heal."
-Diana Schwarzbein, M.D.

To this she recommends eating more food, more often than "someone with a healhty metabolism."

Schwarzbein, despite being 20 years older and formerly overweight, is also leaner than the supermodel, but with far more muscle mass, and no signs of emaciation or malnutrtion -- more like a fitness model (and she, like myself, is anti strenuous exercise). Can you explain this?

I don't understand the point you are trying to make, Matt Stone.

What you explain about cutting calories changing the maintenance level is why very-low calorie diets fail (no one can sustain 800 calories for the rest of their life).

I don't understand all these conspiracy theories about calories.

It's very simple. Cut them out and lose weight, add them and gain weight.

In terms of bodybuilders. they can eat 3,000+ calories because they burn thousands in their workouts and also need extra calories to sustain muscle growth.

If those bodybuilders stopped working out for 2 months and just sat in front of the TV eating 3000 calories, their body fat percentages would increase.

Health Halo overload

I’ve never seen so many nutrition claims on one pack before! Here in my hand is a bag of corn chips that has just about every Health Halo you can think of, starting with ‘certified organic’ (not simply ‘organic’) and working through ‘gluten-free’, ‘no flavours or colours’ and a long list of ‘Free-froms’ (e.g. no dairy, sugar, soy, wheat, egg or MSG). But once you strip those away, what you’re left with is a packet of plain old corn chips with just as much fat, as much saturated fat and with the over-processed drawbacks of any other corn chip.

First of all, what is a Health Halo?

According to the Nutrition411 website , a Health Halo leads shoppers to “overestimate the overall healthfulness of a food based on one narrow attribute.”

And a Health Halo is “proven to cause people to eat more food than they intended, such as eating two organic cookies when you would normally only eat one non-organic cookie.” There’s the word ‘organic’ again.

Beware the Health Halos

The product I alluded to in the intro is the Thomas Chipman range of chips, specifically their Blue Corn and Quinoa chips, which you may have stumbled over. Here are the 11 Health Halos I counted on a pack of Thomas Chipman organic, gluten-free, blue corn and quinoa corn chips.

I’m sure there are plenty of other Health Halo foods out there but this one manages to slap more nutrition claims on one pack than any other I’ve noticed. And it really annoys me because it appears to ooze old-fashioned wholesome goodness, when it’s not.

1. The brand name itself

Who is Thomas Chipman himself? Is he the founder of this range? It’s such an arresting name and one in stark contrast to most other popular corn chips. Looks like a hard-working English baker. In fact he’s a made-up persona. His story is listed under “Fact or Fiction” on the Chipman website.

2. The look and design of the pack

The clever use of an old-fashioned pack design with illustrations of etched whole cobs of corn complete with outer leaves and an 1880s Englishman on the front in limited palette. I’m no graphic designer but this design screams ‘genuine’ and ‘olde worlde’ to me.

3. 100% gluten-free

The usual marketing line. All plain corn chips can claim this as they’re made from corn (maize), oil and salt. Just three ingredients. Not a scrap of wheat, barley or rye in sight, so they are NATURALLY gluten-free. So are potato crisps. Doesn’t make them ‘good for you’.

4. Certified organic

Not just organic, but certified organic. With the official organic ‘bud’ logo in small on the back and a certification No: 10504. But this doesn’t take away the fact that they're salted and have a high fat level.

5. Made from natural blue corn and quinoa

How ‘natural’ is blue corn? Isn’t any corn ‘natural’? This word is so bandied about on processed packet foods that it’s really meaningless. Just about any food can say it’s natural. There’s no definition of natural in Australia and even in the US the USDA has steered clear of the whole headache too.

Other variants in the Thomas Chipman range also sport similar Health Halos such as parsnip chips, beetroot chips and – this one tops them all – Ancient Grains corn chips (a mere 5 per cent of chia, linseed, brown rice flour and quinoa).

Organic blue corn (70%), organic sustainable palm olein oil,
organic quinoa – black, red and white 5%, sea salt.

6. Made with non-hydrogenated expeller pressed oil

Ok this would be a nice change from regular oil if it weren’t for the fact that the oil is palm olein oil and the chips have 35 per cent total fat. Around the same as any other corn chip or potato crisp. Nothing special here. At least the pack tells you it’s palm oil. There’s a qualifier with a further Health Halo on the oil, as it says the oil is RSPO (which stands for Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) and is identity-preserved and fully traceable.

7. No artificial flavours, colours or additives

Yep there’s only corn, oil, quinoa and salt. Any plain unflavoured corn chip could say they have no colours or flavours. These additives come when you buy the Sour Cream or Nacho Cheese variants. If you want to avoid additives, one of my steps is to avoid buying such flavoured snack foods. See my post on 4 Steps to Avoid Additives here.

Hello – got a pleasant surprise – these had only 236mg of sodium per 100 grams which is low. Much lower than other brands which range from 350 to 600mg.

8. No added dairy, onion, sugar, soy, yeast, wheat, garlic or egg

Every allergen you can think of and more. Including the onion and garlic that are banned on FODMAP-friendly diets. That should keep a lot of folk happy.

9. NO added MSG

That old chestnut. Well, it must work.

10. No preservatives

No need for any chemical preservatives, as salt and a low-moisture product do the job of preservation for you. Not to mention the extra-thick, foil-lined pack which keeps the chips fresh for at least 6 months.

11. There are logos for Halal, Kosher and Gluten-free as well Made in Australia.

It’s pretty well got them all. These look impressive.

What about the price?

Finally there’s the huge price - at over A$6 a pack! These are “aspirational chips” and not for the budget-minded. That price tag works out to be a whopping A$31 per kilo. This too propels the chips into a “you get what you pay for and therefore must-be-better-for-you” category.

My verdict?

With all 11+ Health Halos, you’d be forgiven for thinking there was something extra good about these Thomas Chipman chips.

But in the end, they’re just corn chips with 35 per cent fat, of which 16 per cent is saturated (as they’re fried in palm oil, not monounsaturated sunflower oil as many popular chips are) and 68 per cent carbs. Think of them as another highly-processed, salty, snack food that is all too easy to overeat.

This 200g pack is meant to serve four but I bet two people would finish it off. And that’s just before dinner.

The bottom line

Don’t be fooled by these 11 Health Halos. Look at what they’re NOT saying. For example, if something shouts ‘fat-free’ then check out the sugar content. If it says ‘no-added sugar’, look for fruit juice concentrate in the ingredients and check out the total sugars in the nutrition info panel. Look at what a product actually is not what it says it isn’t. In this case it is fatty, salty and carb-laden – as are most chips. A product to be eaten sparingly because, despite the Health Halos, it’s not going to improve your health.

SA101: Heritage Day

Today South Africans get the day off to celebrate Heritage Day. But what exactly are we celebrating?

When I first got here, I asked people that question on nearly every public holiday. The meaning behind Heritage Day elicited more blank stares than most, so I looked it up. Turns out it’s not just a long weekend to celebrate the coming Summer weather, and there’s a good reason people aren’t sure why they get the 24th of September off – it’s a relatively new holiday. According to good ‘ole Wiki, Heritage Day celebrates “…the diverse cultural heritage that makes up a “rainbow nation“. It is the day to celebrate the contribution of all South Africans to the building of South Africa.” It was added to SA’s list of public holidays only in 1995.

In 2005 there was a movement to change the name of the holiday to National Braai Day, and although it didn’t officially take hold it is still they name by which what many people know this long weekend. Rather than celebrating all the different cultures that make up the country, Braai4Heritage proposes that South Africans celebrate a tradition that brings South Africans from all walks of life together – braai-ing meat (and maybe other things) over an open flame. Archbishop Desmond Tutu is the official patron of the day: he talks below about why he thinks Braai day a positive, “unifying” holiday (and apparently can cook up a mean chop himself.)

On a lighter note, I’ve also dug up some important braai etiquette that you should know, just in case you find yourself in the vicinity of a Weber today.

Medical Disclaimer:

The information posted on Seize the Day Blog, including but not limited to, articles, images, recipes, text and other material are shared for informational purposes only. None of the writings should be looked upon as advice meant to replace that of an actual medical professional. If you suspect you have a serious medical condition you should seek help from a healthcare professional immediately. Please be aware that the author of this website is posting information simply to inform NOT to recommend others about health-related topics. Before following any information (i.e. undertaking a new healthcare or diet routine) found here on Seize the Day Blog, you should always consult a medical professional first. Please be sure to never disregard any medicinal advice because of something you have read on this website.

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Why is thyroid cancer the fastest rising cancer in women?

By Lisa Collier Cool, July 24, 2013

Tana Amen, RN was 23 and Charlie Nox was 29 when they were diagnosed with thyroid cancer—now the fastest rising cancer among women. Not only have rates of the disease soared by 240 percent over the past 20 years, but it’s expected to become the third most common cancer in the US by 2019, according to Julie Ann Sosa, MD FACS, chief, section of endocrine surgery and director of health services research, department of surgery, at Duke University School of Medicine. This year, more than 60,000 Americans—including more than 45,000 women—will be diagnosed with the disease, which typically targets people under age 55. Another scary fact: about 2 percent of cases occur in children and teens, the American Cancer Society reports. “Almost all of the increase is papillary thyroid cancer, which used to account for 80 percent of thyroid cancer cases and has recently risen to 90 percent,” reports Dr. Sosa. The disease occurs in the thyroid: a butterfly-shaped gland in the neck just below the Adam’s apple. – Yahoo! Health

Small Bites

Although food labels provide a significant amount of information that can help us compare the nutrient composition of different products, there is one part of these labels I pay absolutely no attention to -- and I suggest you do the same.

The "waste of space" culprit? "Calories from fat."

Not only is that figure useless, it also ends up confusing most consumers.

The only thing "calories from fat" tells you is how many of a given product's total calories per serving come from fat. Why does that matter?

This, by the way, is no secret formula. You can determine that yourself simply by multiplying the fat grams on a food label by 9 (remember, there are 9 calories in one gram of fat).

Similarly, to estimate the amount of calories from protein, multiply the grams of protein in a serving of a given product by 4.

My main issue with "calories from fat" is that it is clearly a remnant from the early 1990s "low-fat" craze.

Allow me to illustrate the inefficacy of "calories from fat."

A two-tablespoon serving of peanut butter, for example, contains 200 calories, of which 140 are from fat.

A bag of Skittles from a vending machine packs in 250 calories, of which 22.5 are from fat.

Do you see, then, how "calories from fat" is absolutely meaningless?

I say it's time to revise the food label. Drop 'calories from fat', differentiate between naturally-occurring and "added" sugars, and substitute Vitamin A (a mandatory micronutrient on food labels practically no one is deficient in) with a nutrient people should be more aware of, like potassium.


Agreed! I would love to see potassium on the food label. Would make things so much easier for my renal patients.

I am sorry, but there is absolutely no physiological reason what-so-ever to distingush added versus naturally occuring sugars on a food label. The body sees no difference between the added sucrose in yogurt compared to the naturally occuring sucrose in a banana. They are they same chemically and are treated by the body in exactly the same manner. The nutritional value of foods with sugars can be very different, but the sugars themselves are not different. In fact, I think your idea would confuse consumers MORE. Would a person with diabetes be more likely to think that they can drink unlimited quantities of organge juice simply because the sugars are naturally-occuring and therefore must be 'healthy'? In fact, for labelling purposes, total carbohydrate and fibre are the only values needed on the nutrition panel within the carbohyrate 'umbrella'. The sugars value is useless information.

People with diabetes need to understand that all carbohydrates are broken down into blood glucose (with the exception of fibre and other monosaccharides such as fructose) and that sugars are simply a component of carbohydrate. They are not unique independent of total carbohydrate.

Have you ever actually read the DRI report on carbohydrates? This is basic reading for a dietetics student. I am surprised at your lack of knowledge of sugars.

what about the consume no more than 30% of your calories from fat thing? All the recipes in Cooking Light are based on that idea. You hit a nerve with this one, because I do pay attention to that and never gave it a second thought.

I have to disagree with this post. Calories from fat can be helpful for a quick and easy wat to help people identify items with approx 30% fat by multiplying cal from fat by 3 and comparing to total calories. I do see your point - that we should concentrate on types of fat, not just total fat or percentage of fat, but often this is the quick and easy trick that patients will actually do to control their fat intake in frozen meals, cookies, etc. Of course, then you have to educate them on what foods this should apply to so that they allow exceptions for foods high in heart healthy fats. In the real world of nutrion counseling situations, this number can be quite useful for people who need to watch their fat but are not willing to further explore the label - unfortunately this is the case for many people.

"I am sorry, but there is absolutely no physiological reason what-so-ever to distingush added versus naturally occuring sugars on a food label. The body sees no difference between the added sucrose in yogurt compared to the naturally occuring sucrose in a banana."

When did I ever argue that the body processes the sugar in a banana (which is fructose, by the way, not sucrose) differently from added sugar in a yogurt?

My suggestion for differentiating these sugars is so people can realize that a cup of plain yogurt (containing approximately 12 grams of naturally occurring sugars) is very different from a fruit candy offering 12 grams of added sugar.

Remember, naturally occurring sugars come with the package (meaning that along with those sugars you are getting vitamins, minerals, and, in some cases, phytonutrients). Added sugars, meanwhile, contribute NOTHING but calories.

THAT is an important distinction.

"In fact, I think your idea would confuse consumers MORE. Would a person with diabetes be more likely to think that they can drink unlimited quantities of organge juice simply because the sugars are naturally-occuring and therefore must be 'healthy'?"

When did I ever talk about the food label in relation to people living with diabetes? Furthermore, diabetes patients are taught that sugar is sugar, regardless of whether it comes in the form of honey, table sugar, or orange juice. I don't understand what, exactly, you are trying to argue here.

"The sugars value is useless information."

Not at all. Again, added sugars are EMPTY calories. When I see trail mixes containing raisins that, according to the label, are just as sugary as a cereal drowned in sugar, I don't think it tells a nutritionally accurate tale.

"Have you ever actually read the DRI report on carbohydrates? This is basic reading for a dietetics student. I am surprised at your lack of knowledge of sugars."

I have, but what does it have to do with this post? I am not arguing that naturally occurring sugars "do not count" or "are not caloric." All I am calling for is for a division of naturally-occurring vs. added sugars on a package so people can understand that Total with added raisins is NOT "just as sugary" as Lucky Charms.

Anonymous -- "no more than 30% of calories from fat"? Hmmm. I'm not too crazy about it.

Some Mediterranean diets go as high up as 35 or 40% and they are doing just fine.

The important thing is to make sure most of these fats come from healthy sources (ie: nuts, avocados, olive oil, fatty fish, etc.)

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Fear of Commitment

Our kitchen, the day we bought it.
We're about to take on a big project, but I'm feeling really ambivalent about saying the word, "Go!"

Be your own nutritionist

Decide how you would like to record your food diary. Pen and paperwork for most people, but you can also use online diaries and mobile phone apps such as My Fitness Pal or Pure Lifestyle, which will also provide some nutritional analysis for you.

On day one, write down your starting weight. Then make a commitment to record everything you eat, as soon as you eat it. If you rely on memory at the end of the day it’s likely you’ll underestimate portions or forget something!


To reap the benefits of using a food diary, record as much information as possible but you must be honest!

Record all food including any sweeteners, condiments, added salt and sauces – as these all add calories. Refer to the Eatwell Plate to check your energy and nutrient balance.

For example, at breakfast check that you have included a good source of protein, as this will keep you feeling fuller for longer, stabilise your blood sugar levels and stop you snacking in the day.

Are you having two portions of fruit and at least three portions of vegetables every day?

One portion of fruit or vegetables is roughly 80g. Are you eating two portions of oily fish or flaxseeds per week to get sufficient omega-3 essential fatty acids into your diet?

If you’re not pregnant, breastfeeding or hoping to start a family in the future, you can have up to four portions a week, according to the NHS.

Keep an eye on portion sizes by weighing your food. Or if this is too time-consuming, you can record rough measurements, such as a tablespoon, a cup or a handful.

Check you are eating a range of vegetables, starchy carbohydrates and lean protein sources to benefit from a broader range of vitamins and minerals.

If you have milk in your coffee, or some wine on a Friday night, write this down. Alcohol contains seven calories per gramme. If you have a cocktail, note the calories from the alcohol and mixers.

Keeping a record of your fluid intake will help maintain good hydration, too. The Foods Standards Agency recommends six to eight glasses of water per day (1.5 to 2 litres).

If you’re exercising, drink an extra 1ml of water for every calorie you burn, so, if you burn 500 calories at the gym, drink an additional 500ml water.


Each tablespoon of olive oil adds 100 calories to your meal so try dry-frying or grilling your steak or salmon fillet. Remove excess fat or skin from meat and poultry and opt for low-fat dairy options.

Microwave or steam vegetables to retain more of their nutrients instead of using butter or oil.

If you’re hungry, you will find a diet hard to sustain. By rating your hunger between one and five, you can make wiser food choices to keep you fuller for longer.

You’re more likely to feel satiated when you’ve had a meal containing a source of protein and fibre,

for example, nutty muesli topped with natural live yoghurt.

Emotional eating is a big problem when it comes to managing weight, especially for women. If you’re bored, stressed, angry or even happy, bigger portions and the wrong food choices become more appealing.

Write down what you eat and how you felt at the time, to highlight problem areas.

Are you eating extra calories outside of mealtimes? When you skipped breakfast, did you have a calorific snack? Write down where you were when you ate, too, because we associate different situations with eating.

For example, when you go to the cinema, take a pot of fruit to munch on, instead of sweets or fattening popcorn.

To lose weight, you need to increase your current level of activity. Aim for 30-60 minute physical exercise five days a week.

On the days you exercise, you may need to eat a few more calories but fuel up on protein, not extra carbs, to reduce muscle soreness.


Your diary will highlight skipped meals and long periods left between meals. Check you’re eating no more than three meals and one or two snacks a day.

At the end of the week, weigh yourself again and make a note of your new weight. Depending on whether you have lost or gained weight, you can make a realistic assessment of your food diary.

If you have lost weight, ask yourself what you did that was good that week. Also, look out for patterns – when are you most hungry?

Do you eat when you’re stressed or bored?

Reward progress, with a non-food treat – a magazine, a beauty treatment or a new outfit are great ways to give yourself a pat on the back.

Small Bites

What are your thoughts on Gary Null?

My cousin thinks he is the absolute best source of nutrition information, but a lot of what he says (like cleansing the body through coffee enemas) sounds misinformed to me.

-- (Name withheld)
New York, NY

Suggesting coffee enemas to "detox" is indeed misinformed.

Second, enroll him/her into a nutrition 101 course at a reputable institution so he/she can get a glimpse of what nutrition is really about.

It's amazing -- and downright infuriating -- how many people lacking proper credentials can make a fortune in the nutrition field by making irresponsible and absolutely baseless claims, saturating the airwaves with shoddy infomercials, and shamelessly duping the public with nonsensical products and publications.

The fact that Mr. Null hawks everything from books to DVDs to anti-aging wrinkle creams to "green foods powders" to his own juicer should raise a red flag (as should his claim that HIV doesn't cause AIDS.)

Two thumbs down in my book. If I had ten thumbs, I would give him ten thumbs down in a heartbeat.

Having the letters "PhD" after your name is completely meaningless to me if you can't back it up with basic scientific knowledge.

Some people comically -- and feebly -- try to defend his work by saying, "if he wasn't credible, then why does he sell so many books?"

Popularity does not indicate substance or respectability. It simply means you are good at marketing your product.

Watch the video: Ετικέτες τροφίμων: Τι διαβάζω σε μια συσκευασία (December 2021).