Paleo Part 3, Understanding Labels and Health Myths
February 25, 2013
February 25, 2013
Understanding Labels of Food and Some Myths to Not Buy Into from the FDA
So as I wrap up this 3 part set on Paleo, don’t worry there will be more to come, I wanted to address a couple of myths and mis-guided “truths” that are out there.
Watch Out for Hidden Sugar
Hidden Sugar is everywhere, especially if what you are buying is packaged, bottled and processed. You need to turn over every package and read the label, even if you have bought it before, trust me it can change! Read it again.
As we have gotten into Paleo and making our own Paleo Trail Mix, we were somewhat surprised at the added sugar that is in dried fruit and how hard it can be to find dried fruit without added sugar. Does it make any sense to you at all that fruit, already sweet with natural sugar, would need any sugar added to it? So never buy any type of fruit or juice with sugar or any other added sweetener on the ingredient list. This will allow you to eliminate synthetic chemicals into your diet, because that’s what added sugar and sweeteners are.
Understand What “Natural” Means
DO NOT trust anything on the front of a package. The word “natural” means nothing. According to the FDA food labeling regulations, anything that originated from nature at one time can be called “natural” on a food label, no matter what has been done to it since it was in it’s natural state. PLEASE say you understand what you just read. When I read this, I wish I could say I was shocked, but mad is more the appropriate term. But that’s another rant for another day, you get the picture.
Here’s what the FDA states: “From a food science perspective, it is difficult to define a food product that is ‘natural’ because the food has probably been processed and is no longer a product of the earth. That said, the FDA has not developed a definition for use of the term ‘natural’ or its derivatives. However, the agency has not objected the use of the term if the food does not contain added color, artificial flavors or synthetic substances.”
So what about your breakfast cereal that states it contains 100% of your daily vitamins and minerals? The truth is, the cereal has been fortified with those vitamins and minerals, and fortified foods have been refined and stripped of those “vitamins and minerals” so therefore the manufacturer has to add them back in. What’s wrong with that you may ask? When you add back in vitamins and minerals, they are in synthetic form and the body is smart enough to know the difference.
Going back to the sweet potato and sugar comparison from the last week’s blog (part 2). In that one little sweet potato, you get exactly the nutrients you need to metabolize the carbs that are in it. They are all present in the “package” of the sweet potato, the nutrients work synergistically with your body. So when we try to add synthetic nutrients back in at the factory, and try to outsmart Mother Nature, we make serious missteps. Bottom line, when you add nutrients in to foods, you are putting nutrients in that aren’t in their natural place and therefore are missing their nutrient co-factors (the other nutrients the body needs to break them down, i.e. sweet potato example) so the body can not use them in the right way. A perfect example of this is “added Omega-3’s”. If it’s not a natural source of Omega-3, then your body will not process it the way it’s supposed to and you just bought into a marketing scheme to get you to buy it. It’s not your fault, you and I just didn’t know better….til now.
Paleo and Your Cholesterol
Let me be the first to say, this was a big concern of mine as I started to investigate Paleo eating. According to Uffe Ravnskov, a leading researcher and expert on cholesterol, states the direct effect of a lower dietary cholesterol intake on serum (blood) cholesterol measures about one half of 1%. Yep, you read it right….that’s it.
Cholesterol is a precursor molecule for all our hormones. We need it, and it isn’t healthy to have a cholesterol level that’s too low. Truth is, the body makes as much as we need to function properly and keep oxidative damage from taking over.
High Cholesterol in your family genes means there is a genetic predisposition for a RARE condition called Familial Hpyercholersterolemis (FH), which is the inability to process lipoprotein molecules properly so that the levels stay high in the blood. So basically, if you have a family history of high cholesterol, it probably means you have a family history of poor diet and lifestyle, not actual genetic disorder. Guess what, that’s me. I’ve always thought and been told it ran in my dad’s family, when in reality, fish fries, smoking, poor diet did.
Paleo will typically improve your cholesterol numbers as a result of less stress on your body, lowered inflammation in your system due to removing the processed sugars, grains, dairy etc. My bud Brett Thornton, who I’ve referred to a lot in this series, had the “high cholesterol in his family” too, his cholesterol is at 133 the last time he told me. So you be the judge. Bottom line, studies show that the body needs the cholesterol and knows what to do with it, if it comes from Mother Nature and if the rest of your diet is in check. So enjoy your eggs.
That’s a wrap on my introduction to Paleo. Over the weeks as I continue to grow, learn and live it, I’ll keep blogging about it in hopes that you learn and grow with us in the process.
We have Paleo Challenge Groups where we actually do a 5 week run and help people learn to live Paleo. If you’d be interested, just contact us today at the top of the page!
Until next time….
Special thanks to The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson and Pratical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo whom’s books I gathered the info and research.