QUOTE OF THE DAY
Calories are tiny fairies that live in your closet and sew your clothes a little bit tighter every night.
~ Earth’s Pearl
If you are the suspicious type, you probably already knew that many of the nutrition facts labels are full of baloney. Especially on the calorie count.
Here you are, trying your darndest to watch your weight, blood sugar, and just your overall health, and some of these rascals are trying to pull the wool over your eyes.
Actually, the FDA allows them a surprisingly wide margin for error. The information can be off by up to 20% in either direction and still be in compliance.
So, a slice of bread that is 100 calories could be 80 or 120 calories. But calories are usually over rather than under.
And then there are the carbs. That doesn’t bode too well for our customers taking our supplements to maintain healthy blood sugar.
Although it would technically be up to the FDA (in the case of packaged foods) and the states (in the case of restaurants) to enforce the laws, it would be a bit of a nightmare of a budget keeping an eye on them for accuracy, so the FDA allows this margin.
Because most manufacturers are pretty honest. Pepperidge Farm’s whole wheat honey bread, for example. They list a 1.7 ounce slice at 110 calories and 21 grams of carbs. That’s pretty dead on.
You can also use your eyes, brain, experience, and appetite to gauge your intake. Does the portion look larger for the stated calorie and carb count? Does it taste heavy or richer than you’d expect? Do you feel full before you finish?
Regardless of what the nutrition facts labels or even online calorie counters state – including from the USDA database – your body has the final say on whether you’re getting the right number of calories.
If you’re having trouble losing weight or you’re gaining weight when you don’t mean to, you’re getting too many calories and/or burning too few.
But shouldn’t we be eating more whole foods anyway? Then we wouldn’t have to bother with the labels.
Then again, there are times when you just want a quick meal of chips, soda, and a BIG sandwich with extra mayo.
Then there are those midnight snacks . . .
One way is to put a sample in an instrument called a bomb calorimeter. Don’t ask us why they call it that, but it is a small chamber in which a food is burned to heat water. The hotter the water gets, the higher the calorie count (a calorie is a unit of energy).
But more often, companies add up the calories of the various ingredients in the foods using a standard nutrient database. That should provide the same counts as the lab analysis, provided that the numbers are accurate.
Now, the next question is: do the citizens in healthiest parts of the world, like the Mediterranean and Japan, look at nutrition facts labels?
Hmmm . . .
From the health and research team at Earth’s Pearl.