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Become a food label reading detective

It is my very strong recommendation that we all become what I call a “Food Label Reading Detective.”

However, there is so much information on many food labels that I believe we can limit what we are reading to what I consider to be the most important information. When I look at food labels, I only check for two things. I check for the amount of sugar, and I check for the amount of dietary fiber, and I do not check for anything else.

Further, I generally do not look at the carbohydrate count, because this can be very misleading. You need to be aware that they add the amount of grams of fiber to the carbohydrate count, because fiber is a carbohydrate.

However, dietary fiber cannot be absorbed by the human body, so there is no need to look at the often misleading carbohydrate count. Again, just look for the amount of sugar, and keep it to a minimum, and look for the amount of dietary fiber and go for the higher fiber food items.

First and foremost, you must avoid or minimize excess refined sugar. This cannot be emphasized too much, and is the key to being on a healthy diet. Further, know that the ingestion of refined sugar is the primary cause of a person’s excess weight and may have a significant impact leading to elevated xe “cholesterol”cholesterol. I cannot emphasize enough how you must become a food label reader.

With regard to food labels, you must remain aware of the following. Some food and drinks do not list xe “sugar content” sugar content, and may list only carbohydrates. If you do not see the xe “sugar content”sugar content on the label, then check for carbohydrates and consider this to be xe “sugar content” sugar content.

Following is what I refer to as my “Great Eight” healthy snack list. 1. SOS (Stop Only Sugar) Diet Trail Mix – Just mix 2 cups of Planters Dry Roasted Peanuts with 1 cup of Original Fiber One Cereal, and start snacking on this irresistible high protein, low sugar, and high fiber trail mix. You will love this simple homemade very healthy SOS Trail Mix! 2. Quaker brand 25% Less Sugar Granola Bars – only 5 grams of sugar and 3 grams of fiber per bar. 3. Fiber One brand 90 Calorie Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars with only 5 grams of sugar and 5 grams of fiber per bar. 4. Wonderful brand Roasted Shelled Pistachios with only 2 grams of sugar, 3 grams of fiber, and 6 grams of protein per 1/4 cup serving; this is a great healthy snack right out of the bag. 5. Jif or Skippy brand Peanut Butter; 3 grams of sugar, 2 grams of fiber, and 7 grams of protein in a 2 tablespoon serving. 6. Thomas’ brand “Light” muffins; one muffin has 8 grams of dietary fiber and only 1 gram of sugar; great with butter, peanut butter & sugar-free jam. 7. Planters Dry Roasted Peanuts; 2 grams of sugar, 2 grams of fiber, and 7 grams of protein in 1 ounce serving (about one handful). 8. Emerald brand Cocoa Roast Almonds; 1 gram of sugar, 3 grams of fiber, and 6 grams of protein in a 1 ounce serving (about one handful).

The bottom line is that when you become a label reading detective and go for low sugar and high fiber, you will indeed have a much healthier diet. With lower sugar and higher fiber intake, you will likely enjoy healthy weight loss and, if needed, will likely also lower your cholesterol. Again, my strong advice is to just read the labels for low sugar and high fiber, and don’t make it any more complicated than this.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Dr. Jim Surrell is the author of “The ABC’s For Success In All We Do” and the “SOS (Stop Only Sugar) Diet” books. Requests for health topics for this column are encouraged. Contact Dr. Surrell by email at sosdietdoc@gmail.com.