A taste of nutrition terminology

What do all the words on your product label mean? They can be confusing for those trying to make healthy choices or lifestyle changes. Below are some of the most common words. Note that the FDA gives suggested guidance (not legally binding) on many terms.

While this list isn’t all-inclusive, it will give you a good foundation to build your nutrition vernacular. Be prepared and don’t let health lingo fool you when trying to make the best choices for you and your family.

Label terminology:

Gluten-free – Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. According to the FDA, a food must contain no more than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten in order to use “gluten-free” on its label. The label was designed for people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance so they can avoid foods that may cause health problems. Be aware that gluten-free doesn’t necessarily mean healthy. Even gluten-free foods can be high in calories, fat, sugar and artificial ingredients.

Products by PURE that are gluten-free include: Daily Build, GoYin, CalciuMK+, ENERGY, Mila, Organic Sulfur, Probiotic, Alkaline Water Concentrate, Immune6, Silver, all superfruit juices, 360 Complete Shakes, Matcha Vegan Shakes, Metabolic ONE, Green Coffee Bean, SleepTrim, PURE Café, Cleanse capsule and liquid, PURE Perk and the GPS Sports Performance line.

GMO – GMO stands for genetically modified organism. This is any organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. These modifications have focused mainly on crops, such as corn and soy, which are in high demand from farmers. Genetically modified crops and ingredients have been under much scrutiny lately as to whether they pose a threat to human health.

Ingredients PURE selects for inclusion are natural, derived from natural sources, or made through natural processes. To the best of the company’s knowledge, its products do not contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). To validate our belief, PURE has been and will continue to systematically evaluate through independent testing the absence of GMOs.  As additional test results are received, labels will be updated to include their non-GMO status.

Organic – According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), organic products are those without growth hormones, antibiotics, conventional pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, and GMOs. The Matcha Vegan Shakes are organic certified. Greens is another product that is organic but is not organic certified. Organic certification means the finished product has been through a certification process at the manufacturer. A non-certified organic product will consist of ingredients, which are of themselves certified organic, but the product has not been.

Preservatives – These are substances used in products to prevent decay and other undesirable changes. Preservation can either be chemical, adding a compound to a product, or physical, such as refrigeration or drying. Preservatives reduce the risk of foodborne infections, decrease spoilage and preserve quality. A common additive that prevents oxidation is ascorbic acid (vitamin C). CalciuMK+ contains sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate, which are necessary to maintain freshness due to the nature of the ingredients of this product in liquid form.

Calories – Technically, a calorie is a unit of measurement reflecting the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram of water by 1 degree Celsius. In simpler terms, a calorie is the energy released by food, and we need that energy to survive! But calories are only part of the healthy eating equation. One hundred calories of potato chips will nourish and satisfy us differently than 100 calories of nuts or fruits. Other macronutrients matter, including protein, fat, carbohydrates and sugar. Since caloric needs are individualized, the new food label statement is, “2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.”

Not regulated terminology:

All-Natural – The FDA has considered the term “natural” to mean that nothing artificial or synthetic (including color additives regardless of source) has been included in, or has been added to, a food that would not normally be expected to be in that food. The term “all-natural” is often used to imply foods that are minimally processed and whose ingredients are natural; this means they do not contain additives such as sweeteners, antibiotics, colors, or other synthetic substances.

PURE is committed to providing premium-quality products based on the best of science and nature. This philosophy includes the avoidance of artificial dyes, colors, flavors, sweeteners and other potentially harmful ingredients. Ingredients PURE selects for inclusion are natural, derived from natural sources, or made through natural processes. Not all PURE products are 100% all-natural, but we offer products that fit into this category. For example, Matcha Vegan Shakes, Daily Detox, Cleanse (liquid and capsule), Greens, superfruit juices (Acai, Goji, Mangosteen, Noni and Fusion), Alkaline Water Concentrate, SleepTrim, Green Coffee Bean and Mila are all-natural products.

Healthy – The word “healthy” means different things to different people; it could be physical health, emotional health, and/or overall well-being, or the absence of certain conditions. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” If a food is labeled as “healthy,” many assume it meets this goal. However, even foods labeled as “healthy” can still contain sugar (despite being fat-free or sugar-free), and artificial ingredients, including sweeteners, colors and flavors. Make sure the choices you make, including the food you eat, nourish your mind, body and soul.

 Kosher – These foods are prepared following strict Jewish dietary laws, which can vary in different Jewish communities but have the same basic rules. Consumption of certain animals is prohibited, and the separation of dairy and meat is required. Kosher certified products include superfruit juices (Acai, Fusion, Goji, Mangosteen and Noni) and Cleanse liquid.

Multi-grain – Don’t get this term confused with whole-grain. Multi-grain means that a food contains more than one type of grain, although it may not be a whole grain. There is no standardized regulation or definition and the term can be added to any label if the product contains more than one type of grain. Always look for the word “whole” on your labels to ensure you are making the most nutritious selections.

Superfoods – While there is no of superfoods, these are foods that are nutritional powerhouses and pack large amounts of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Blueberries, acai, goji, mangosteen and green tea are all considered superfoods.

 Wellness – If we think we are healthy, then what does it mean to be well? My favorite definition is from Dr. Bill Hettler, MD, Co-founder of the National Wellness Institute, “Achieving wellness is about finding balance in the six equal areas of your life: physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, social and occupational.” A high level of wellness is crucial to living a healthy life. Everything we do feeds our well-being. Wellness is what we strive to do here at PURE as we deliver Whole Health.

 

The Dietary Guidelines are out for 2015-2020

DietaryGuidelines_0116 Every five years, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) jointly release a list of guidelines to follow for a healthy diet.1 Following these tips from the USDA can help support your weight-loss and healthy eating goals.

Eat less sugar, meat and sodium.

Healthy diets should limit saturated fats and trans fats, added sugars and sodium. They should also include fruits (especially whole fruits), vegetables, protein, dairy, grains and oils. The dietary guidelines do not talk about limiting sodas and other sugary drinks, but they suggest limiting sugars and saturated fats to 10 percent of total calories, and sodium to 2,300 mg per day. For a 2,000-calorie diet means: 200 calories of sugar and 200 calories of fat. Learn more at heart.org and http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/executive-summary/.

Be aware of the sources of sodium in your diet. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 40 percent of our daily sodium comes from 10 types of food, some of which do not taste salty. These foods include cured meats and cold cuts, poultry, pizza, soups, cheese, meat dishes, snacks, rolls and bread, and pasta dishes (with the exception of macaroni and cheese).2 It is also common to consume sodium from salad dressings, canned foods, condiments, boxed mixes, bottled marinades and sauces, frozen dinners, some ready-to-eat cereals and cheeses.3 In just one meal, a sandwich with deli meat, pickle relish and other toppings, it is possible to get over 1,500 mg of sodium.

Follow healthy eating patterns.

The guidelines also suggest that we follow a healthy eating pattern our entire life 1

  • Consume a variety of nutrient dense foods:
    • Eat dark green, yellow, purple, red, white, and orange fruits/vegetables
    • Incorporate whole fruits and grains
    • Have a variety of fat-free/low-fat dairy including milk, yogurt, and cheese, and/or fortified soy beverages
    • Vary your protein sources (lean poultry and meats, eggs, seafood, legumes, seeds, nuts, and soy products)
  • Consume healthy oils
  • Control portion sizes
  • Consume healthier food/beverages

Increase activity level.

Americans need to be more physically active. Being inactive means there is no activity beyond those of daily living (ADLs).

  • Per week, adults should have a minimum of:
    • 150 minutes of low-intensity physical activity (casual walking, stretching, slow dancing, fishing, light yard work)
    • 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity (brisk walking, yoga, jumping on a trampoline, weight training, volleyball, tennis, canoeing, horseback riding).
    • 300 + minutes of high-intensity physical activity (running, jogging, step aerobics, jumping rope, boxing, swimming laps, skiing)
  • Being physically active can:
    • Help maintain a healthy body weight
    • May improve bone health when weight-bearing exercises are incorporated
  • If you have been inactive, gradually build your level of activity.4 It may be advisable to check with your health care provider to find out how much and what level of physical activity is appropriate for you.

Make a plan and track your progress.

Products by PURE

Many of our products, like Daily Build and Coral Calcium, help supplement your vitamin and mineral requirements, in addition to fruits and vegetables. Superfruits are a wonderful source of antioxidants, such as Mangosteen, Noni, Acai and Goji. Additional fiber and omega-3 fatty acids can be found in Mila. Don’t forget about ENERGY for pre-workout hydration or Hydration for post-workout hydration. The HealthTrim® line can supplement your diet as part of your daily calories and can help with weight management.

 

1(Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020, 8th Ed., online http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/?platform=hootsuite). According to the executive summary for the dietary guidelines (Dietary Guidelines 2015-2020. Executive Summary. Online http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/executive-summary/)

2 (Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Last updated and reviewed August 21, 2014. Accessed from http://www.cdc.gov/salt/sources.htm. Accessed on January 25, 2016).

3(Keller, M. Seasonings of change. Today’s Dietitian. Oct 2009; 11: 10 (40) Accessed on January 25, 2016. Accessed from http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/100509p40.shtml)

4(Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, health.gov. Chapter 1: Introducing the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. Last updated: January 25, 2016. Accessed on January 25, 2016. Accessed from http://health.gov/paguidelines/guidelines/chapter1.aspx).