Don’t Stop at Calories and Macros: How to Read Food Labels

Don’t Stop at Calories and Macros: How to Read Food Labels

It’s not easy to read food labels, unless you know what to avoid…

Don’t tell me when you see a new and promising “healthy” product on the grocery store shelf, that you don’t flip it over and immediately scan the calories, fat, carbohydrate and the protein content … Right?!

We have been trained to look for this stuff. You ask why?? Well, let me enlighten you!

The Big Food Companies want you to care about that because it’s VERY easy to market “Low Fat,” “High Protein,” “Low Calorie” and now “Low Carb.”

We are made to believe THAT’S what’s important! But let me go against these guys (again) and tell you that it’s what’s under the ingredient list that is way more important.

Here are a few examples why:

You find some yogurt to have in the morning (to replace that cereal) and look at the calories, fats, proteins and carbs – they all look good. You think, “SCORE!” However, that yogurt has high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in it, which has been proven to pack on the pounds faster than any other ingredient. It also increases your LDL cholesterol levels and contributes to the development of diabetes and tissue damage. That more than undoes the good of replacing that cereal. Look at the ingredient list for yogurts without HFCS, they’re out there!

You go for a nice run and feel really parched afterward (nice job pushing yourself). You decide to reach for a sports drink, because if all those athletes you admire drink it too…it has to be good for you, right? If you check the ingredients list, you’ll see there’s Blue #1 and Blue #2. These food dyes are banned in Norway, Finland and France. It’s been thought to contribute to behavioral problems in children and lead to a significant reduction in IQ. Animal studies have linked food colorings to cancer. It’s also believed it may cause chromosomal damage. Again, there are some sports drinks without the crap, but you’ve got to look at that ingredient list to know for sure!

I could go on but the point is this: Continue to scan the macronutrients of your food (paying close attention to the trans fat and sugar content up there), but don’t stop until you look at the ingredients and make sure you don’t see any of these included in there:

  • HFCS
  • Corn oil
  • Soybean oil
  • Soy protein
  • Refined wheat flour
  • Maltodextrin
  • Corn or wheat starch
  • Soy lectin
  • Mono and diglycerides
  • Dyes
  • Sodium nitrate
  • Potassium bromate
  • BHA/BHT
  • Propylene glycol
  • MSG

I’m not trying to make eating complicated, because in fact, healthy eating is very simple. But I want you to remember that the government is about profit and not people. Many of these ingredients have been banned in other countries because they are harmful to our health, but we are left not knowing this. My job, my calling, is to just share what I learn in my own research. Copy this list and keep it on your phone for the next time you go shopping… Or better yet, just do what I always say… Eat more from the farm!

About the Author Melissa McAllister

My name is Melissa McAllister. I just turned 43! I have a son and daughter and my husband and I are new empty nesters! My husband is the reason I eat, drink, and sleep health and fitness. He has 2 speeds, GO and GO Faster. We have been together for over 27 years and married for 22 (yes, he had me at “hello!”). Don’t get me wrong though…I was a Doritos and Coca Cola eating Hoover when I was in school! Fitness has been an essential part of my life for over 18 years. I have the 3 best jobs in the world—being a stay-at-home Mom, business owner, and group exercise instructor for several large fitness chains. I have been teaching everything from yoga to kickboxing for over 16 years. I have also had the great opportunity to train, inspire, and motivate other instructors for the past 10 years. You might even see me in a few fitness videos out there! 😉 Reaching out to others who are struggling to be healthy and happy is my passion. I couldn’t tell you next Fall’s latest fashion must have or what flowers to plant this season, but I can help you achieve your health and fitness goals. With your determination and my motivation, we can find and keep the best YOU! I will inspire by holding myself and those around me accountable!

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5 comments
Sherry Goff says July 6, 2017

Good post! I like that you blog about important stuff.

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Lakisha says July 7, 2017

Would like to know if you could email a list of things to look for on back of labels also do you have any info on how to do macros

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marina says July 7, 2017

It is so good of you to share this, it is just criminal to make people sick with junk! Thank you so much for educating and highlight this.

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Dawn Dillard says July 7, 2017

This list is awesome, added it to my phone!

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Taylon Hunt says July 25, 2017

Hello Melissa, I recently started a beachbody challenge group, I’m doing piyo with my wife. I so want to learn all that I can about nutrition, you are very informative and I look farword to learning more from you. Thank you for making a difference, may the Lord bless you!

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