Bonnie Taub-Dix: Read It Before You Eat It, Taking You from Label to Table

Food shopping can be so confusing and sometimes…downright misleading! Don’t you agree?As a dietitian nutritionist, I love the approach of buying all of your food from food companies that purely have your particular needs in mind, but I also recognize that most of us face real-world constraints on our diets. Sure, it would be great to go to the farmers’ market to pick up a freshly baked loaf of whole-grain bread, but realistically speaking, it’s more likely that I’ll swing by the grocery store for a loaf of a packaged pre-sliced type of bread. Once I’m there, I’ll confront a shelf full of breads with packages that make all kinds of claims about how healthy they are, but how do you know which one will be best for you and your family? This book is meant to help you determine the best foods to buy by enlisting the aid of a powerful weapon that can help you succeed in meeting your personal needs while cutting through the confusion— and that’s the food label.The label has been there for years, right in front of you, but you may have ignored it. I understand. And believe me, you’re not alone. Labels can be misleading, full of terms you don’t know. You might think that since labels are carefully regulated there would be no room for misinterpretation about what goes on the package . . . right? Wrong. Labels are not just about government regulations and definitions, they are about educating and enticing consumers. But there are certain circumstances where the facts get twisted and additional interpretation is necessary.I try to guide people by helping them to think of food in a different light: Each bite they eat will have a purpose and appear somewhere in their bodies. Whether it’s to repair cells and tissues, give energy, or expand a waistline, the foods we eat have a variety of functions. And in my opinion, it’s not obsessive if at breakfast time you’re thinking ahead to what you’re going to be eating for lunch or deciding what you’re cooking for dinner. By coordinating your meals and planning ahead, you can balance out your day and assure that you’re not going to overdo anything or be missing out on key nutrients your body needs.I can’t even count the number of times a patient said to me, “I wish I could take you food shopping with me.” They want me to help them translate what’s on the label and cut through the confusion so they can make a quick, healthy decision about the best foods to buy.Since I can’t actually go to the store with you, I will walk with you up and down the aisles of your supermarket and help explain confusing statements and deceptive labels on some of the products you’ve been purchasing for years. Moreover, I’ll enable you to become skilled at separating fact from fiction by uncovering some of the most popular food myths that are highlighted by media hype, geared toward selling sound bites instead of sound advice.So, this is what makes my book stand out from the rest: unlike food activists that just tell you what to do because they say so, Read It Before You Eat It will give you the opportunity to shop with me, a registered dietitian nutritionist who will take your individual needs into consideration. I’m not going to tell you what to do just because I said so — I’m going to give you the tools to help you decide which foods are best based upon a combo of science and common sense. After reading this book, you may not read the label on every product you purchase, but I’ll bet you will flip over more packages than you did before to look at all sides of the box, not just the flashy front of the package, knowing that if you decide to spend your hard-earned money on a food, there’s got to be a good reason why you chose that particular item. I hope that Read It Before You Eat It will help you navigate the aisles efficiently, safely, and healthfully.Thanks for letting me come shopping with you. I’d love for you to fill your cart with food you’ll feel proud to take from their labels to your table!

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