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Wellness

How Many Calories Are In That Piece Of Cake?

At least 7.  I just had to add one more answer to this chart.

I’m always skeptical about labels that try to “figure out” exactly what is going on in someone’s life.  I’m especially skeptical of labels saying that they are “trying to reduce, manage, or stop the stress that comes with dealing with a mental illness,” “trying to manage the impact of living with a loved one with a mental illness” or “trying to manage the physical ailments associated with living with a mentally ill or physically debilitated loved one.”  Just because you can “tell” someone how many calories they eat does not, by definition, mean that the foods that they eat do not contribute to an illness.  These labels create a world of doubt in the health of a loved one, and this can affect our ability to love that person with full and healthy hearts.  Sometimes we don’t know when depression or other emotional disorders start, how they are diagnosed, and how long they last, and sometimes we don’t know if there are treatment options for mental illness that haven’t been studied or haven’t been found that work for certain people.  So just because some label says there are calories in something does not mean that those calories come from something that contributes to an illness.

These Are But A Few of the Questions

So there you have it, the most frequent questions about the labels we use to classify food.  I hope this has clarified some of the more frustrating parts of this debate, though there are many other topics about labels that I have not addressed here.  Many labels are designed to provide more information than we need (i.e. “all natural” means nothing if there are no pesticides, hormones, antibiotic use, etc.).  All of these labels also allow us to easily avoid foods that may be unhealthy.  So when someone tells you “avoid that brand of cookie” or “this thing called peanut butter contains high levels of salt, so only eat it with a fork” (or any of the other labels they may use), it would be a more productive conversation if you just say to them that in some cases people may just be trying to make life easier, so just use your judgement.

Also, I will note that there is a difference in labels that are just about calories between the labels at the top and the labels at the bottom.  That is because it has been shown that if the food itself does not contain calories, then we won’t mind if it comes labeled as “low energy density,” “energy dense,” or “very low calorie.”  But if you are concerned about “energy density” of the food, then it may be better to eat the food.

Finally, I have been told that this isn’t about labels.  It’s about people not being able to find the foods that are good for them, and it’s about people not being able to find any foods that they really need because all of the labels have some level of sugar in them, or some type of high fructose corn syrup.  However, if you want to eat your cookies and do not know what kind of food to eat, or if you just crave healthy food but don’t know what you should eat, I know several people who will be happy to help.  Let us know how we are able to make it easier for you to eat, and we’ll gladly help you find foods that are good for you.