Labels…they’re not ALL bad

I’m in the middle of a huge training weekend, so I’m just going to leave you with a quick post today.

I cheated. I ate a doughnut. Two actually. It IS National Doughnut Day…and I am running 40mi this weekend. Those are not excuses. I refuse to feel guilty. The extra sugar did make my stomach feel terrible, and I could use a nap!
Lesson learned.

Back to today’s point…labels.

Everything has a label.

Produce has labels…do you know the difference? Here’s a quick cheat sheet:
Definitely avoid that last one…but these are not the labels I’m worried about.
Have you ever read the labels on prepared foods? That’s what I want you to start doing. If you don’t know what an ingredient is, look it up. Better yet, don’t buy it! I want you to decide which ingredients are unhealthy. But I’m going to give you two to start with.

Artificial sweeteners: Yup. Fake sugar. Do we eat fake food? Not any more. I’m not going to debate whether these products cause cancer or other health problems. I’m eliminating them because they are artificial by definition. Here’s where you’ll find them, but read food labels. All of these must be listed on the label per the FDA.

NutraSweet® and Equal® are brand names for aspartame.
Other artificial sweeteners on the market include sucralose (Splenda®), acesulfame K (Sweet One®, Sunett®), and saccharin (Sweet’N Low®, SugarTwin®).

Monosodium Glutamate: Good old MSG. It’s a “flavor enhancer.” More flavor can’t be bad! Here’s a thought…if your food tasted good to start with, why would you need to “enhance” it? You’ll likely find this in food items that should be avoided anyway…and almost anything with “cheese flavoring.” If you want the flavor of cheese, just eat cheese. Don’t eat cheese-flavored chips! Maybe if our taste buds weren’t overloaded by the amount of sugar we eat, we could taste the natural flavors without enhancing them.

Don’t get me started on sugar. Another day…

So that’s it. Just start reading labels. I find the food that tastes the best has the least amount of ingredients anyway. I just want you to know what you’re putting into your mouth.

On Tuesday, I’ll have a special post for runners…How to fuel on Real Food. Don’t miss it!