An article showed up in my newsfeed last month about a recent study that found most yogurts to be “deceptively high” in sugar. Of the 900 different brands surveyed, only 9% were low in sugar (defined as less than 5 grams of sugar per 100 grams of yogurt), and organic yogurts were the sugariest (containing an average of 13.1 grams of sugar per 100 grams of yogurt).
The first thing that popped into my head was… someone had to do a study on this? Of course most yogurts are packed with sugar! But then I took a step back and thought a bit more about how this might be news to many people — and that got me thinking about the different different kinds of awareness we have when it comes to the food we eat.
Yogurt is one of those foods that far too many people assume is healthy (granola, energy drinks, smoothies, and breakfast cereals are others!). But how many people take the next step and check the healthfulness of the particular yogurt they’re eating? It doesn’t take a lot of effort; the information is right on the Nutrition Facts label.
When you develop nutritional awareness you’ll take a quick look at that label before you buy a new product. You’ll check the label to make sure the ingredients are things you’re familiar with, that there’s nothing you’re allergic to, and that it’s not full of sugar or any other junk.
A big part of nutritional awareness is getting past your assumptions of what’s “healthy” and what’s not. It’s also realizing that just because one brand or type or variety of a particular food is good for you, it doesn’t mean other brands or types or varieties are.
Don’t worry, this awareness shouldn’t take up too much of your time. Your quest to live a better life should have you buying more whole foods like meats and fish, fruits and vegetables, nuts and healthy oils, and few items that come in a box and have a Nutrition Facts label in the first place.
Awareness of How a Particular Food Makes You Feel.
The second kind of awareness is the awareness of your own body. Let’s say you snack on yogurt instead of a candy bar because you figure that yogurt is healthier, but it still gives you the same kind of “feel good” sensation that the candy does.
Well, that “feel good” sensation may very well be a sugar rush. So if you get the same thing from the yogurt as you do the candy bar (including the uncomfortable sugar crash 30-60 minutes later), then having greater self-awareness would make you ask “why do I feel the same eating yogurt as I do eating a candy bar?” Ideally you’d then think, “Hmmm…. Maybe I should read the label on the yogurt container and see what’s in it.”
Developing a better awareness of how foods affect your body can help you identify particular foods that give you headaches, low energy, digestive issues, poor sleep, or something else that negatively impacts how you feel. You might have a food sensitivity or allergy that no one’s talking about, and which you wouldn’t be likely to identify if you don’t pay attention to how you feel.
Over time, this type of awareness is one of the most important factors in living a healthy and fulfilling life.
When you develop an awareness of what works (and doesn’t work) for you, then you are in control of your future health. A great way to develop that awareness is to track what you eat for just three days, and my free tracking worksheet can help you do just that. [Click here] to learn more.