Tyler Robbins Fitness

Tyler Robbins has his B.Sc. in Biochemistry: Pre-Medical, is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), is certified through USA Weightlifting, and a CrossFit Level 2 Trainer.

Food Label Claims Part 3

Part 3 in a series of posts detailing common product label claims and what to watch out for.

"Low in Salt"/"Low in Sodium"

What does it mean?
Generally this means that the food contains 140mg of sodium or less per serving.

What to watch out for
Again, I don't mean to sound like a broken record here, but really keep an eye on the serving size listed in the Nutrition Facts on the packaging as you can really rack up the salt here by going over your suggested serving size. A diet low in sodium can reduce your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and even kidney stones. Keep in mind however, that if you have been diagnosed with something like high blood pressure, a high-salt diet may not be the only thing to blame as factors such as obesity and diabetes can also play a part here. Generally, the recommended daily dose of sodium should not exceed 2,300mg (about 1 teaspoon) per day whereas many adults consume 3,000mg or more every day!

"Reduced Salt"/"Reduced Sodium"

What does it mean?
This is generally an indication that the product contains at least 25% less salt per serving when compared to its "regular" counterpart.

What to watch out for
Just because something is "reduced" in anything does not mean much if the original product was extremely high to begin with. Companies may also pull a bit of a fast one on you similar to "Low-Fat" options when reducing salt. Similar to fat, salt can be tasty and when it is reduced or removed from a product, something else may go into it to make it taste better so keep an eye out for that. Keep in mind that companies are only going to make products that people like and enjoy so that they will be repeat customers!

"Multigrain"

What does it mean?
Includes more than one grain, which may or may not be refined. Seeds and legumes may also be counted in the multigrain count even though they are not actually cereal grains.

What to watch out for
Believe it or not, this one is especially important to watch out for. The terms "Multigrain" or "Whole Grain" aren't that tightly regulated so you can't be completely certain as to the number of grains you are actually getting in your intended food. The main thing to remember though is that refined (white) grains are the unhealthiest choice as they have been stripped of majority of their nutritional benefits so you are far better off choosing multigrain or whole grain counterparts. Of those two, whole grains are an even better choice as they generally contain more of the actual grain itself such as the germ, bran and endosperm which heightens its levels of fiber, vitamin E and protein.

"No Sugar Added"/"Without Added Sugar"

What does it mean?
No honey, fruit juice, sucrose or other type of sugar was added to the product.

What to watch out for
Keep in mind that just because something hasn't had any sugar added to it, doesn't necessarily mean that it didn't include sugar already. Fruit juices can be especially bad in this regard as fruits are very sugary, and when they are made into juices, they are stripped of their fiber causing faster digestion and higher insulin spikes.

"Unsweetened"

What does it mean?
Meets the "No Sugar Added" criteria from the previous point as well as no artificial sweeteners added.

What to watch out for
Overall, I find it best to try and avoid artificial sweeteners as much as possible as they can, in some cases, be worse for you than natural sweeteners. This has been under debate as of late as the idea that artificial sweeteners are useless within the body, so the body produces insulin in anticipation of something sweet which in turn just causes insulin dips causing cravings for more sugar.

-Tyler Robbins
B.Sc. PTS