Part 4: Nutrients to be aware of

Each time you look at package labels make sure you look at the content of the following nutrients:

Fats: Usually you see a number for total fats and then one for saturated fats and trans fats which are both crucial as a diet high in these two ingredients is associated with overweight, obesity, cardiovascular diseases, increased levels of LDL cholesterol (or “bad” cholesterol), increase risk of heart disease or cerebrovascular accidents.

You must eat a maximum of 20g of saturated fat per day, hence, you shouldn’t eat foods that have more than 5g of saturated fat per portion.

In regards to trans fats, the World Health Organization and the American Heart Association suggest that less than 1% of calories ingested per day should come from trans fats. In order to achieve this level, we recommend you do not eat products with more than 4g of trans fats per portion. Ideally, only eat food that has 0% trans fats.

The next item is cholesterol but you won’t always find it because if its content is less than 2mg per portion, it is not required to include it. The general recommendation is to eat a maximum of 300mg of cholesterol a day, so try to avoid products which have a cholesterol percentage daily value of more than 15%.

Finally, we find sodium. Many times people don’t look at sodium as they consider calories, sugars, fat and cholesterol to be the main ingredients to watch out for, but sodium is in fact very important. Many products branded as “light” are very high in sodium. The general recommendation regarding sodium intake, is to avoid products with more than 150mg. A diet high in sodium results in liquid retention, more cellulite, increased blood pressure, and an over-all feeling of swollenness.