Dana Lis Blogs on Making Healthy Nutrition Choices

It seems like everyone needs a degree in nutrition to navigate the nutritional marketing gauntlet of some grocery aisles grocery stores. Knowing what SuperMarket choices to make at the grocery store is essential to nutrition success. Unfortunately food marketing can keep many of us confused about what is healthy and what we actually need. For example many people think that they need a yogurt with extra prebiotics, additional probiotoics, and green tea extract or a juice with added antioxidants and omega fats – yet do not know enough about a well balanced varied diet to make the best decisions. This recent article by Leslie Beck in The Globe and Mail points out some key food marketing strategies that have us reading a food by its cover.Beck points out some key areas of food confusion like “fat-free” salad dressings:

Beck writes: “These dressings may save you calories because they’re void of fat. But they often have more sodium and added sugar than the regular version. For every two tablespoons, Kraft’s Italian Fat Free has only 10 calories and half a gram of fat, but also delivers 480 milligrams of sodium – one-third of a day’s worth for most adults. The same serving of Kraft’s regular Zesty Italian supplies 60 calories, 6 grams of fat and one-third less sodium (320 milligrams)”

Another area that often causes question is the granola bar aisle. There are several products like Sweet and Salty granola bars which are “healthy looking” but the first 2 of 3 ingredients are corn syrups. When searching for a granola bar be sure to look for:

·         Whole grain as first ingredient
·         0 grams of trans fat
·         No more than 1.5 grams of saturated fat
·         No more than 8 grams of sugar
·         At least 2 grams of fibre

Some winners in this category are Nature Valley Fibre Source, President’s Choice Whole Grain Peanut Butter Crunchy Granola, President’s Choice Cranberry Almond Granola Bar.

Taking a grocery store tour with a registered Dietitian is a fantastic way to learn how to navigate the grocery advertising gauntlet. To connect with a dietitian in your area see the SportMedBC practitioner directory here.

Dana M. Lis
B.Sc. Dietetics, RD

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