Understanding nutrition labels can help improve health

HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) – When reaching for snacks or groceries, we’re more likely to focus on branding; What to focus on, however, are the nutritional labels behind it.

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Licensed dietitian Vanessa Zamarripa said high doses of sodium are one of the main components that lead to cholesterol.

Zamarripa said it is important for everyone to limit their sodium intake, and what can help is cooking at home instead of eating out. Foods with a longer shelf life also fall into the high sodium category.

“Anything that is processed will have more sodium in it because they use sodium to preserve the product so it will last longer on the shelf,” said Zamarripa.

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According to Zamarripa, sodium intake varies. She said this is between 1900 mg and 2300 mg per day in children.

In addition to sodium, Zamarripa encourages parents to monitor their child’s sugar intake, especially since sugar is found in almost everything.

According to Zamarripa, children are advised to consume 25 grams or less of sugar per day.

She said that an easy way to tell if a product is pure sugar is to understand if it is listed as the two main ingredients on the label.

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“The labels are fine, so if you look at the ingredients list so that it’s sorted by the most and the fewest ingredients.

Other added sugars to look out for include:

  • Brown sugar
  • Corn sweetener
  • Corn syrup
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Honey glucose
  • Fruit juice concentrates
  • Invert sugar
  • Malt sugar
  • molasses
  • Raw sugar
  • Turbinado and ingredients that end in “-ose”

She said that information about what you are consuming is not a way of preventing people from what they cannot eat, but rather to be careful and moderate.

Zamarripa said prevention measures are encouraged as soon as possible because many parents or adults choose to do something for their health when diagnosed with diabetic or high blood pressure.

She said changing lifestyle and habits can help minimize the risk of health problems in the long run.