Grundy County Memorial Hospital | Live Well | Fall 2023

LIVE WELL is published as a community service for the residents of the service area of Grundy County Memorial Hospital, 201 East J Ave., Grundy Center, IA 50638,, 319-824-5421 Standard U.S. Postage PAID Grundy County Memorial Hospital 201 E. J Ave. Grundy Center, IA 50638 Adam Scherling Administrator Keely Harken Communication & Foundation Program Manager Kelly Jans Community Outreach Specialist Crystal Petersen Wellness Program Manager 2023 © Coffey Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. Information in LIVE WELL comes from a wide range of medical experts. If you have any concerns or questions about specific content that may affect your health, please contact your health care provider. Models may be used in photos and illustrations. Don’t judge a food by its package By Crystal Petersen, RDN, LD GCMH Wellness Program Manager All the different health claims on food labels can be confusing. Much of it is clever marketing to convince us to choose one product over another or to spend more because we perceive the food to be superior or healthier. Check the ingredients Here’s how I look at a food package: I go straight to the ingredient list. That’s right, I look past the numbers and the “health claims,” because I’m interested in purchasing a product with a short list of natural, whole foods and recognizable ingredients. Food manufacturers must list ingredients highest to lowest by weight. Where an ingredient falls in the list is a good way to see what makes up the majority of the product. The ingredient list is also important to scan when you must avoid foods due to intolerances and allergies. Check the nutrition facts Where I look next depends on health goals or concerns. For someone with high blood pressure, the nutrition facts label is useful to compare food brands for sodium content. It’s where to look when counting carbohydrates to manage diabetes. The nutrition facts label clearly lists the amount of sugar naturally occurring in food separately from sugar added to a food through processing. Choosing foods with little or no added sugar is part of a healthy lifestyle and may have benefits related to oral and heart health, maintaining a healthy weight, and more. I pay little attention to the food package health claims and tricky descriptions, as they can be misleading. For example, a food labeled 100% natural can contain a lot of added sugar, unhealthy fats and salt, all of which are natural ingredients. To make the best decisions when choosing food, look to the ingredient list and nutrition facts label to find factual information. HOW TO USE THE NUTRITION FACTS LABEL If you’re confused by all the numbers, check out this handy infographic from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration: You can also check out this guide to added sugars: