On the other hand, when it comes to your waistline, a potato chip is still a potato chip, a cracker is still a cracker, and a cookie is (you guessed it) a cookie. If foods are highly processed, no amount of organic ingredients will make it nutritious or contribute to a healthy lifestyle. And, with these processed foods, labels can be deceiving as well. If you see a package labeled with ‘Made with Organic Ingredients,’ the USDA says only 70% of those ingredients have to be organic. By USDA guidelines, the ‘Organic’ label indicates 95% organic ingredients, and only if it says 100% organic is it truly free of pesticides and synthetic processing. In general, 100% organic will come with whole foods that do not require additional processing before hitting the grocery store.
I give my husband a hard time about this, but in truth the inspiration for this blog hit me while I was mindlessly munching on ‘Organic Honey Grahams.’ I felt like this wasn’t too bad for snacking until I focused and looked at the sugar content and the fact that there is not a scrap of whole grain or fiber in them, and all they do is make me want to eat more, while not filling me up! Why, Honey Grahams, WHY?
There are lots of food traps out there. Another “label” that may cause some confusion is eating vegetarian. When we hear someone is a vegetarian we immediately assume they are super healthy and will outlive us all. But I refer back to the potato chip, cookies, granola bars, sugar, fat, excess calories examples. All these things can be consumed under the label of vegetarian and are still detrimental to our health.
Another popular label, ‘No sugar added.’ This one hurts me the most because I want it to be good for me. A sweet treat that’s not going to get me with the sugar? Well, read the ingredients because most of the time there are artificial sweeteners that have no place in a healthy diet or they are sweetened with fruit juice, which seems better, but the effect of the sugar on your body is still the same. Your insulin spikes, you crave more, and the satisfying feeling of being full just isn’t there.
In no way am I trying to make anyone feel bad about what they eat or the choices they make. Here at Bright Fitness we want you to feel informed about the food you are consuming. The best strategy is to eat as few highly processed foods as possible, organic or not. So gather information, read labels, and ultimately you will start making healthier decisions on what you eat!