Here's a review of our laser like Food Label Reading Challenge!
Healthy Eating Challenge #9: How fast can you find out how much fiber is in this cereal?
Fiber helps to lower our cholesterol, keep our blood sugar constant and reduces the risk of heart disease, cancer and Type II Diabetes. As if that's not enough, fiber also helps us control our weight and remain more satiated throughout the day.
Good sources of fiber include grains, oats, nuts, fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils and even popcorn.
We should aim for 25 - 30 grams of fiber each day. Unfortunately, even when we think we're choosing wisely, some labels can mislead us.
When looking for grains on a label, we want to look for the words 'whole grain' or '100% whole grain'. This means that the grain is intact and contains the germ, bran and endosperm portion of the kernel. This also means that it hasn't been stripped of its fiber and nutrients.
Sometimes labels can be misleading and say, for example, that a product contains "wheat flour", "stoneground wheat", or "cracked wheat flour". Believe it or not, this can actually be enriched white flour in disguise with some brown food coloring and some seeds thrown in for effect. Some companies even make it look like wheat is the most plentiful ingredient (listing it as the first ingredient) by using sugar in 2 different forms so that technically they are not the most plentiful ingredient. But since you're now a label reading pro, you won't be mislead by this.
Wondering what insoluble and soluble fiber are?
Soluble fiber dissolves in water and forms a gel-like substance. This type of fiber helps us feel fuller longer because it slows down how quickly our stomach empties. This may also help control our blood sugar levels. Soluble fiber may also interfere with the absorption of dietary cholesterol which can help reduce our LDL levels (the bad kind). It has also been known to keep our bacteria healthy in our intestines healthy which boosts our immune system and even our mental health.
Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water and passes on through our digestive system relatively intact. This literally helps keep things moving in our digestive tract while also adding bulk to our guts and reducing the risk of constipation. Think of it as the regulator! Studies have found insoluble fiber to be particularly helpful in reducing the risk of diverticulitis.
Here's your quick guide to fiber:
1) Look for items with at least 3 grams of fiber per serving.
2) Look for the words "100% whole grain" or "whole grain"
3) You can also look for the whole grains council "100% stamp" which means all of its ingredients are whole grains and it contains 16 g or more. The "Basic Stamp" means that the item contains 8 grams of whole grains but there may be some refined grains in the product.
Food label Quiz
Check out your food label to the right! If you're up for the challenge, answer the questions below.
1) Is this Kashi cereal a good source of whole grain?
2) What is the serving size?
3) How much fiber is a serving size?
4) How much sugar is in this item?
5) What is the source of sugar?
How'd you do? Answers are below.
1. Yes, this is a great source of whole grain since it has "whole grain wheat".
2. The serving size is 29 biscuits, a reasonable amount to consume.
3. There are 6 grams of fiber.
4. There are 7 grams of sugar in each serving.
5. Dried cane syrup is the source of sugar.