Food labelling(1)

Despite what you’ve heard, GDA (Guideline Daily Allowance) isn’t always your best option when it comes to healthy eating. Fitness trainer, Samuel Cranny-Evans exposes some commonly held diet and food myths…

Everybody loves conspiracy theories, right? Well here’s some information that sounds a bit like a conspiracy but is actually true.
According to EU law, all foods processed and packaged for consumption inside the EU must contain labelling which details the ingredients, allergens, and how that food relates to your Guideline Daily Allowance(GDA). Since this came about, many people have taken this information as a rule and assume that you must consume no more than X amount of calcium, no less than Y amount of salt, etc. But the truth is, GDA was invented somewhere back in the 1960s, and it is considered the bare minimum to keep the majority of the Western World’s population Disease Free. That doesn’t mean healthy, and it certainly does not include operating at your best. It basically means that in order to avoid malnutrition and things like scurvy, you should try and adhere to government guidelines.

TRAFFIC LIGHTS

Now there are some areas, such as the advice given for your daily sugar intake that are probably a bit generous -90 grams of sugar in a day is quite a lot. (Just try eating 18 teaspoons of sugar in a row.) And the allowance for fats makes no distinction between healthy fats and Trans fats. So the system carries some basic flaws, and there are many examples that prove it. For instance, the advised amount of protein per day is set at 55 grams for adult males, and 30+ for females. However, many athletes consume up to  300 GRAMS of protein A DAY as part of a well balanced diet, and they are amongst the most physically impressive beings on earth.
The breakdowns of vitamins and minerals is also a bit confusing. For instance, the GDA on Zinc dictates that the average adult should consume no more than 9mg a day, which is a tiny amount; you would get more from two servings of spinach. Nevertheless, many people that I know are deficient in Zinc, which affects their ability to heal and sleep properly. (Inspect your nails for white patches to see if you are lacking Zinc in your diet.) Equally puzzling is the advice for Iron. Just 12mg provides 86% of your daily allowance, this is equivalent to an 8oz steak, which is one meal for many people, and it fails to account for the rest of the day!

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So there is a lot to suggest that you need to do more than meet your daily minimums, and this is especially the case if you are involved in regular physical activity, as this further depletes your stores of vitamins, minerals, proteins and fats. In an ideal world, all of your “daily essentials” should come from your food. Eat at least one salad a day, and make sure that every meal has at least 3 different coloured vegetables in-and no, ketchup isn’t included, nor are baked beans, regardless of what the adverts say.
Ensure there is a regular source of calcium, such as milk or fish, and reduce the amount of sugar you take in.

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Remember, “they’re all out to get you man!” Ok, they’re not really, but it is worthwhile emphasising that a lot of Government guidance on nutrition is in urgent need of an update, so think before you blithely follow their advice. Lastly, stay tuned in to Eevee Life for more myth busting facts and advice on living a good healthy life.
You have one life, so make it longer by being nutritionally savvy!
Yours in fitness and in health
Samuel Cranny-Evans,
Putting the Personal into Personal Training.