Food nutrition labeling, MSG, Sodium, Potassium
It’s not surprising that parents are being misled by food nutrition labels. In fact most “nutrition” labels should just be called food labels, since most products that come out of a box seldom resemble nutritious food. Everyone knows that nutritious food comes from real, fresh ingredients and home-made cooking, if we take into account moderation of fat, carbohydrates, sugar and calories.
In a BHF, British Heart Foundation, survey women surveyed thought that anything labeled “whole grain” was thought of as being healthy. In this BBC news article, “Nestle’s Honey Shreddies, which claim to be wholegrain and to “keep your heart healthy and maintain a healthy body”, contain more sugar [13.6g] than a ring doughnut [9.2g] in an average serving.” In my opinion that amount of sugar is actually unhealthy.
In the article, “Kellogg’s Coco Pops cereal and milk bars are labelled as “a source of calcium, iron and six vitamins” and 63% of mothers in the survey thought they were healthy. The BHF said that for every 100g they were higher in saturated fat and sugar than the average chocolate cake.” So the even though the recommended daily intake is important, the benefits are often outweighed by more saturated fat, and sugar.
Generally speaking, when making comparisons of similar food products we should make not of the grams per serving so we don’t make a mistake about which food contains more or fewer calories, sugar or fat.
It is also important to pay attention to the amount of sodium and potassium. Organic food typically has more potassium according to the label than its non-organic counterpart. The sodium to potassium ratio is usually higher in processed foods. We know to be careful of the amount of sodium we consume. But are we getting enough potassium for good health? The recommended daily potassium intake is 4.7 grams a day. Potassium is important in nerve function, muscle control and blood pressure. You should obtain potassium from your diet as supplementation is not usually a general recommendation. So pay attention to the amounts of both in processed food.
Another ingredient to watch for on food labels is MSG also known as monosodium glutamate. Some people are sensitive to the effects of MSG and can develop headaches, migraines, mood change, nausea, joint pain, sleep and disorders among others. MSG is “hidden” in foods under the label “hydrolyzed vegetable protein.”
Read more about MSG here: http://www.naturalnews.com/025066_MSG_the_FDA_health.html
Dr. Dhillon, ND