Nutrition Before During and After Cancer

Information on nutritional needs for cancer patients


Leave a comment

Food Labels

In the last blog we learned a little bit about food labels, let’s take it a little further and figure out a few more details. Remember some numbers are in grams and others in milligrams.

Food Labels

Servings information

Serving size:

This is an amount of the food that is considered a single serving. The rest of the nutrition facts then provide information based on that amount. If the serving size says 1/2 cup, then the calories, fat, cholesterol, sodium, protein, carbohydrates, fiber and other nutrients shown are for 1/2 cup of that food.

Servings per container:

This number tells you how many servings there are in the whole package. So if a package has 7 servings and you eat the whole package, you’ll be eating 7 times the calories and other nutrients. Yes! They add up.

Calories:

The calories are the number of calories in one serving. Don’t forget this important fact. So if you eat more than one serving, you have to multiply the calories by how many servings you eat. If a package says 1/2 cup is a serving and you eat 1 cup, that’s two times the servings (1/2 cup x 2 = 1 cup).

Fat, Cholesterol, & Sodium

Total Fat:

This is the number of grams of fat in a single serving. In a 2,000 calorie daily diet, most people should aim for between 45 and 78 grams of total fat per day, mostly from sources like plant oils, avocados, seeds and nuts.

Saturated fat:

This fat is often called a bad fat, but a little saturated fat in the diet may not be harmful. Most people should aim for 7-10% or less of their calories from this fat or about 20 grams or fewer per day based on a 2,000 calories diet.

Trans fat:

This is a bad fat. If the label shows trans-fats, find another food. Even if it says 0 grams, it’s important to look at the ingredient list to see if the word “hydrogenated” is on the list.

Cholesterol:

Most people are advised to consume less than 300 mg of cholesterol each day. Take a look at the number and pick foods with low cholesterol so it doesn’t add up to more than 300mg at the end of the day.

Sodium:

Most people should aim not to exceed 1,500 mg of sodium daily, while some are advised that 2,300 mg is safe. The label will say how many milligrams of sodium are in a single serving. It will also list a DV (Daily Value) showing what percentage of 2,300 mg  is in one serving.

Fiber, Vitamins and Minerals

Fiber:

This is listed in grams on the package. Women are advised to get 25 grams or more daily, men are advised to reach 35 grams.

Vitamins and Minerals:

Nutrition Facts panels are required to list Vitamins A, C, E and the mineral Iron. They will be listed by percent only. The goal is to achieve 100% over the course of the day.

Protein, Carbohydrates and Sugars

Protein

This will be listed in grams. Protein can help with feeling satisfied. Protein needs vary for people with kidney disease and other illness, on an average we need about 0.9 g x with your weight in kilograms. Not all foods will have protein.

Carbohydrates and Sugars:

Carbohydrates are listed in grams and there are many forms of carbohydrates from complex whole grains, fruits and veggies to simple sugars like honey, cane sugar (table sugar), and maple syrup among others. While recommendations for individuals will vary, carbohydrate recommendations can generally go up to 300 grams per day in a 2,000 calorie diet.

Advertisements


Leave a comment

Smart food shopping

Know what you are shopping for, by reading food labels

If you’re cutting back on fat, extra-lean products are a better choice than those labeled “lean,” which can contain up to twice as much total fat (10 grams) and saturated fat (4.5 grams) per serving, with the same maximum amount of cholesterol.
Low or reduced fat isn’t always the best option. Sometimes there are nutritional tradeoffs: for example, Reduced-fat peanut butter may contain more sodium and sugar to boost flavor. Compare the nutrition facts before you buy.

99 Percent Fat-Free, you may assume that means only 1 percent of the calories come from fat, but that’s not the case. Instead, “99 percent fat-free” means that 99 percent of a given weight of the food is fat-free, so do a bit of calculation here: If the food weighs 100 grams, 1 gram comes from fat. Every gram of fat contains 9 calories, so depending on the serving size, a 99 percent fat-free food may contain more fat calories than you would expect.

Label-1

Whole Fruit in a product: The only way to figure out the amount is to examine the order of the ingredients, Contents are listed in order of volume, unless fruit is in the first three ingredients, don’t buy it.

Ingredients label

Made with…It’s a good source of… whatever the ingredient the label is touting, which means the product contains at least a bit of the said ingredient. But since this label isn’t defined by the FDA, how much is anybody’s guess Get an idea how much of the ingredient the food contains by seeing where is sits on the ingredient list. The closer it is to the beginning of the list, the more of it the food contains.

Whole-grain products list the word whole as in “whole wheat” or “whole oats” among the first few ingredients. You might also look for the Whole Grains Council’s symbol. Companies can pay to join this organization and receive its “stamp” on products that deliver at least 8 grams of whole grains per serving.

Whole Grain Council stamp

Lightly Sweetened: has very little sugar, It could still have (what you might consider to be) tons of sugar or artificial sweeteners. The FDA does not regulate this label.

Four grams of sugar equals about 1 teaspoon. Remember even if you don’t see sugar in the ingredients, it might be there.  Calculate sugar content in teaspoons. Sugar goes by many names, including molasses, evaporated cane juice, nectar, corn sweetener, honey, syrup, and anything ending with -ose (sucrose, dextrose, fructose, maltose). It’s all still sugar.

Sugars in food

Low, Light and Reduced: It has few calories, grams of fat, grams of sodium, or whatever else the label lists, but it only means that the product has less of that stuff compared to its original version. For instance, the FDA states that foods can be labeled “light” if they contain half the fat or one-third the calories of the original version. Meanwhile, manufacturers are allowed to say products are “reduced sodium” if they have 25 percent less than the original or other similar foods. Keep in mind: When companies remove fat and salt from foods, they often replace it with sugar and additives to keep it yummy. Before you buy, compare the “low,” “light,” or “reduced” nutritional label with that of the original to see how their pros and cons compare.