Many of us grew up with the ubiquitous Nutrition Facts label on the side of most packages of food. Some of you may remember that it came into existence in 1991 when it became required of food manufacturers under the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990.
Unfortunately for everyone, the Nutrition Facts label is mostly meaningless. Except for the rare instance where you may desire to know exactly how many grams of fat, protein, or carbohydrates may be in a particular labelled food, the Nutrition Facts label does basically nothing.
The Serving Size is typically too small and unrealistic. You’ll notice this when a label says a serving is 6 Oz. of fluid or 2 Tbsp. of peanut butter.
The percentages mean absolutely nothing because they are based on an entirely arbitrary system that dictates how much of a certain macronutrient or vitamin you should obtain every day. In actuality, the minimums they have set are just enough to stave off malnourishment and symptoms of deficiency. You could easily consume 300% of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of Saturated Fat or some vitamin and still remain perfectly healthy. They recommend 2000 or 2,500 kcal/day for everyone and 25-30g of fiber/day for everyone. I eat far more calories and far less fiber as did many primitive, healthy Homo Sapiens.
It’s arbitrary and meaningless; not proven scientific fact. What matters most is not how much sodium in milligrams or saturated fat in grams you ingest but the type of foods you are eating. It is doing nothing but distracting people from the bigger picture.
The saving grace
Most packages of food do normally contain some useful information, however, under Ingredients.
A great deal of knowledge can be had from an Ingredients list. Now you can see precisely what is being put into your food. I may not be very interested in how much fat the government says I should eat and what percent of that total I’m arriving at by eating a “serving size”, but I do want to know if there’s been any cottonseed oil mixed in because that is a type of fat I want none of.
So, when you look at the Nutrition Facts label on a box of food, you can basically do this:
Now we have it down to the useful information. You just want to know the ingredients in your food. You want to know the type of food and source of those nutrients. That will give you all the information you will ever need. You need to know if the ingredients are “paleo” human food or not. Nothing else really matters.
Always read Ingredients.
You will often catch manufacturers slipping garbage like sugar and vegetable oil in. I find labels like this all the time. This is one that I read on a bag of cashews. You think you’re just buying a bag of cashews? Think again! On this particular label they don’t even know which oil they’ve dumped in. (Peanut, cottonseed, canola, and/or soybean…we’re not sure. Whatever.)
What good is the Nutrition Facts label if it doesn’t really tell me that there is garbage vegetable oil mixed in?
I don’t care if there is 10g of polyunsaturated fat in there, I want to know if it’s coming from real food or not.
You want to know where the fat, protein, carbs, vitamins and minerals are coming from, not a simple raw total of each.
The government would have you believe that your body is kind of like any machine. The manual says 5 quarts of oil is required so we dump 5 quarts in. Doesn’t matter where it came from. While in a car you may get away with using mineral or synthetic, you probably wouldn’t want to dump vegetable oil in.
Your body is even more fine tuned than a car so treat it that way. Pay attention to the type and source.
The source, type, and quality of foods is far, far more important than the simple sum total of fats, protein, and carbs you eat in a day.
Ignore the Nutrition Facts. Read the ingredients.
Don’t eat trash. Make sure the ingredient list is free of grains, dairy, refined sugars, and vegetable oils (canola, soybean, cottonseed, corn, sunflower, safflower, peanut.)
Eat real, whole food and stop suffering.