Nutrition Labels & Food Mind Games

Posted by in Health Tips

Ahhhhhhhhh, the mind games we play with food. The internet can be a blessing and a curse when it comes to nutrition. I’ve studied nutrition passionately for the past 15+ years, leading me to change my Facebook relationship status with food to It’s Complicated.


It all started in college, then progressed thru peer-reviewed articles, certifications, magazines and yes…the internet.

Then, in 2006 I discovered Twin Cities-based Nutritional Weight and Wellness, where the vast majority of my next level nutrition education has taken place. Do I endorse them? Sure. Should you drop everything & run to them now? Nope.

My goal is to study in the trenches & pull out clean, applicable information that my loyal clients and blog followers can apply today. (See chart from last week’s post for an example:

Today’s post is a quick and decisive question that you can apply to all your dietary decisions, followed by 3 “Golden Nuggets” on effectively reading nutrition labels…enjoy!

Quick Tip:

The purpose of proper nutrition is to provide energy, repair cells & organs, fight aging & disease, all while fueling your life. Potentially very powerful stuff! With this in mind, ask yourself this one question every time you’re making a dietary decision:


Elementary example: An apple provides energy, nutrients, fiber, vitamins & minerals. Dorito’s provide calories. Empty calories. Calories the body cannot use.

1-68-ZZM8eJCEeMWAD8bDengNot all calories are created equally. Quantity of calories is one thing, but the quality of those calories can so be much more powerful.

Energy sapping junk food is everywhere, so pause for a second and make the educated decision to choose an energy-providing alternative.

3 “Golden Nuggets” of Understanding Nutrition Labels

Golden Nugget #1: Macronutrients & Caloric Impact

  • 1-gram of FIBER (a component of carbohydrate) = 2 CALORIES
  • 1-gram of PROTEIN = 4 CALORIES
  • 1-gram of FAT = 9 CALORIES

Nutrition Label Breakdown:


  • 10g Fat x 9 = 90 calories
  • 26g Carb x 4 = 104 calories
  • 2g Fiber x 2 = 4 calories
  • 3g Pro x 4 = 12 calories
  • Total = 210 calories


Golden Nugget #2: Weight

Ingredients are listed on the label in descending order from most weight to least. Below is a low-fat yogurt label to easily parlay into next week’s fit tip “My Big FAT Rant”.

1-dAp9_1vwPyLnOzhqL4YeIwThis yogurt label has garbage, sugar, blueberries, and more garbage. Ooooohhhh look…it’s low fat and has Vitamin D3 though!

I guarantee both ended up on the front of the label, even though it’s full of sugar and Vitamin D accounts for the least amount of anything in the product.

More on this next week!

Golden Nugget #3: Less is More

Choose food/beverage items that have 5 or fewer ingredients on the label. Simple, yet effective.


Apply the “Does This Provide Me With Energy?” question to every quick nutrition decision you have to make. If you have a little more time, check the label and apply the 3 “Golden Nuggets” of reading a nutrition label.

Make the smart choice, you’re a educated person. You read blogs on fitness and nutrition for heaven’s sake!☺

“Thou shouldst eat to live, not live to eat.” ~Cicero, Rhetoricorum LV