Arctic winds and snowdrifts make it hard to believe that spring is just around the corner, but it’ll soon be time to make a clean sweep of all the clutter around our homes. When you purge your pantry of sticky bottles of sauce and the remnants of holiday gift baskets, follow these tips when restocking those shelves.
How to Read the Nutrition Facts Label
Many people check the nutrition label for calorie and ingredient information. Calorie counts and ingredient lists are vital for those who are watching their weight or following an elimination diet. Also, serving and portion size facts can help make a big difference in your struggles with flatulence and bloating. The label lists nutrients, fats, and sugars and carbohydrates, but the percentage of RDS information doesn’t provide context. There is a qualitative difference between high and low daily values of these ingredients.
Serving and Portion Size
The serving size is a standard measurement. Your portion size is the amount you eat at one sitting. If the portion size is a half cup, but you eat an 8-ounce portion, you’re consuming double the fat, carbs and calories indicated by the nutrition label.
Putting the Values in Context
According to EatRight. org:
- “Low is 5 percent or less. Aim low in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol and sodium.”
- “High is 20 percent or more. Aim high in vitamins, minerals and fiber.”
Limit Saturated Fat, Added Sugars and Sodium
Eating less saturated fat, added sugars and sodium may help reduce your risk for chronic disease.
- Saturated fat and trans fat are linked to an increased risk of heart disease.
- Eating too much added sugar makes it difficult to meet nutrient needs within your calorie requirement.
- High levels of sodium can add up to high blood pressure.
- Remember to aim for low percentage DV of these nutrients.
Fiber and Essential Vitamins, Minerals
You probably know that your diet should include more fiber, vitamins, and minerals. However, gas sufferers can experience more frequent episodes of embarrassment or discomfort if they don’t gradually introduce fiber into their diets. “Foods that contain soluble fiber tend to produce more gas than foods high in insoluble fiber.” Insoluble fiber doesn’t change form when it passes through your digestive system. “Soluble fiber dissolves in water and forms a gel that slows the passage of food through the intestine. The process of breaking down soluble fiber causes gas.”
Healthy Baking Alternatives
White whole wheat vs. all-purpose
All-purpose flour is ubiquitous, but that doesn’t mean it is the best choice. White whole wheat produces the ‘loft’ or ‘rise’ people expect but contains more fiber than its all-purpose cousin. Ever wonder why whole wheat flours have that name? It’s because they’re milled from the entire wheat berry. Bran (fiber) is found in the outer shell of the berry. All-purpose flours are ground from the center (endosperm) of the berry. We suggest white whole wheat because it’s milled from sweet, mild (in comparison with red berries) white berries. (Source: JoyTheBaker.com)
Joy the Baker.com suggests that home cooks either experiment with a one-to-one substitution or swap out half of the suggested amount of all-purpose flour in recipes. As a general rule, use a 1:1 ratio if the finished product (bread, rolls) requires more structure.
Be prepared for sticker shock, but nut flours are a nutritious and tummy-friendly alternative to wheat flours. Use coconut flour instead of all-purpose flour. Almond flour is best used in pastries or cookies.
Here’s a comparison of various nut flours and meals; plus how to use them.
The best fruit substitutes for those on a reduced-fat diet
Some recipes call for pureed fruit in place of fats, but not all are wise choices for gas sufferers who are trying to reduce their daily carb consumption.
Fruit can provide the richness of butter or oil – which varieties are best for gas sufferers?
Bananas, pears, and apples are high in carbs. Recipe authors frequently choose these three because they’re considered healthier than butter or oil. Instead, choose pureed pumpkin, honeydew/cantaloupe/peaches (in season) or strawberries (smaller berries are sweeter than large).
A Guide to Healthy Fats
Fatty fish, such as tuna or salmon, is rich in Omega-3 fats. They’re considered healthy because they “may help lower cholesterol levels and support heart health. You can buy canned varieties to make a weeknight meal or to have on hand when you just don’t have time for a grocery run.
Pantry staples include olive oil, certain nuts, and seeds are great sources of healthy fats. Read EatRight.org’s primer, “Choose Healthy Fats” for more information.
Reduce Saturated Fat
What is a ‘saturated’ fat?
You can tell the difference between saturated and unsaturated fats at a glance; the former is solid at room temperature. “[S]aturated fats are simply fat molecules that have no double bonds between carbon molecules because they are saturated with hydrogen molecules.” Horizon Organics vegetable shortening can be stored at room temperature and has a long shelf life. Substitute it for butter in pastry (pie crust and scone) or cookie recipes.
Why is saturated fat bad for you?
The American Heart Association advises that “Eating foods that contain saturated fats raises the level of cholesterol in your blood. High levels of LDL cholesterol in your blood increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.”
Even though saturated fats are naturally found in many types of meat and dairy products, doctors advise us to limit their consumption to no more than 6% of our daily caloric intake.
Reduce Added Sugars
You may be surprised to learn how many foods are high in naturally-occurring sugars. If you customarily add sugar to beverages (such as coffee or tea) and regularly eat processed foods, you may exceed the AHA’s recommended daily sugar intake.
- “Men: 150 calories per day (37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons).
- Women: 100 calories per day (25 grams or 6 teaspoons).
We recommend Now Foods powdered stevia for baking or liquid stevia in beverages. Now products are free of the additives which cause an unpleasant aftertaste.
Check with your doctor and registered dietitian before making any dietary changes. Nutrition services are covered under many health insurance policies, making these visits more affordable than you’d otherwise expect. Before scheduling an appointment, review your policy (or check with your insurer’s customer service department) to confirm coverage. (You may need to request a referral from your primary care physician.)
If you’re uninsured or aren’t covered for this expense, your local department of social services can provide a list of free or low-cost nutrition service providers.
CharcoCaps® dietary supplement relieves gas and bloating FAST!*
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.