Standing in the aisle of the grocery store looking at all the brands of cereal with a puzzled look on your face. Phrase flash before your eyes “whole grain, high fiber, low sugar, smart choice, all natural, organic, good source of fiber…” Ahhhh what does
this all mean!?!
It means turn that package over!
The nutrition fact label is where the truth will lie. However even nutrition fact labels can sometimes be puzzling. I picked up a simple solutions from a colleague of mine, Dr.Wayne Altman, which now has been dubbed it the “Altman Rule“. The Altman Rule is a clever trick to simplify label reading when it come to sugar, protein and fiber.
To use the Altman Rule:
(1) Located the grams of sugar, protein and fiber on the food label. Also be sure to check the serving size.
(2) Make sure the product has at least 3 grams of fiber or more. (Exception will be yogurt)
(3) Add the grams of protein with the grams of fiber.
(4) Compare the grams of protein + grams of fiber total, to the total grams of sugar.
(5) If the grams of protein + grams of fiber total is greater than (>) total grams of sugar than the product is a good choice, if is it is less than (<) it is not the best choice.
We have been bombard by the media, our healthcare providers, family and friends about how bad sugar is for our health, our weight and life expectancy. It is hard to ignore the facts. Recently the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports that the average American consumes between 150 to 170 pounds of refined sugars in one year!
But for most of my clients the refined sugars they are consuming are not coming from the obvious source of sugar like cookies, candy and soda. It is the hidden sugar that's found in their organic yogurts, whole grain cereals, high fiber crackers, and all natural protein bars that is putting them into sugar overload. Everyday day clients sit in front of me, saying "I don't eat sugar". I respond by saying "you don't think you eat too much sugar". Then we walk through examples of the Altman Rule on my office shelf!
It is a brilliant rule because it tells you if there is more “good” stuff (fiber/protein) in a product compared to “bad” stuff (sugar). If there is more fiber and protein in a product than sugar it will likely keep you full longer, decrease sugar cravings and leave you feeling satisfied with your food choice. I love this rule because it is not about being pristine and consuming no sugar ever in your day. Rather it is uses the concept of glycemic index and biology to help you make a smart food choices, that won't spike your blood sugar that eventually lead to rapid blood sugar crashes, cravings and weight gain.
There are really no good or bad food as everything can work in a eating pattern. That being said day in and day out we are all fooled by the promises of food claims. The Altman Rule helps you ensure that what is promised on the front of the packaged will be delivered.