The info-graphic below is provided by JustStand.org. Click the image for a larger view.
We’re all familiar with the tricks that some food manufacturers play in attempting to deceive consumers.
For example, with products that are high in calories, the nutrition label will list “calories per serving” with unrealistically small portion sizes being considered a serving. Only recently have we begun to see labels stating, “calories per bottle” or “calories per bag” as honest statements acknowledging that nobody is going to drink half of a small juice bottle.
However, some vendors play with the serving size and per bottle portions by listing the good ingredients “per bottle” and less desirable things like calories as “per serving” — making their product seem high in nutritional value but low in calories.
Other tricks include placing the “open here” tear package location over the nutrition information so that the top portion containing the calories is discarded upon opening. There’s also a tendency to have packaging seems be abnormally large and designed to fold over and hide nutrition information.
There is a new wave of fraud in nutrition labeling. The same food manufacturers that offer nutritious food with easy to read large print labels will put on their products of poor nutritional value labels that cant be read because the text is too small and/or the contrast is not sufficient.
Making food nutrition information unreadable is in direct violation of the FDA Guidelines regarding food labeling. (PDF) The image at the top of this page is from the FDA website and is offered as a guide for proper product labeling.
At a time when everyone is paying extra attention to making content accessible to those with vision impairments, its inconceivable that nutrition labels would be this difficult to read. Below are some examples.
White Text on Clear Background. This first example shows a package with white text on a clear background. It can only be read (as illustrated below) when the package is emptied and then held against a dark background. It’s also necessary to cut the Nutrition Facts panel out of the package because otherwise the front of the package will obscure the details making it unreadable. It must also be held in just the right light to avoid glare. The image below is from a tiny pouch of condiments for oatmeal (from Starbucks). The oatmeal is sold as having 150 calories. However, when you add up the calories of all the packages of condiments, the oatmeal is high in calories. Starbucks proudly provides the nutrition information for their oatmeal on their website. However, if you’re looking for the nutrition information for the fruit topping, you’ll find this statement on the website: “The nutritional data for this product is not available online. You can find that information at your local store.” What you get in the store are hard to read labels. This is true for their Dried Fruit and Nut Medley toppings. The website offers no nutritional information. Keep in mind that the label below is substantially modified to make it readable.
Font Too Small and Poor Contrast. The label below is a good example of an unreadable label. Even for those who might use a magnifying glass would have difficulty reading it. The printing is similar to bank checks and currency that are designed to be impossible to copy. Reading it is like trying to read a CAPTCHA phrase on a website. This example is from the GoPicnic Professor ZimZam’s Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt. The image here is substantially enlarged. You can click the image for an even larger view.
Nutritious Product with Large Print and High Contrast. Below is a nutritious product with a label that is clearly printed in large text with high contrast and is very readable. This item was packaged by GoPicnic with the chocolate above.
Dashboard. Below is a screen shot of how I’ve organized the panels in my online Fitbit Dashboard. I’ve moved to the top, those items that I have the greatest ability to do something about in real-time (what I eat and how active I am). This way, throughout the day, I’m visually reminded of these things and can at any time take positive action and see immediate feedback. Not shown is water intake tracking. That shows up in the iPhone app and elsewhere in the online account.
The above article was written by Greg Johnson.
Summary. If you forget to start the “I’m going to sleep now” mode of the FitBit app on your iPhone, you can enter the sleep time the following day:
- Go to More
- Choose Sleep
- From the sleep screen, press + to add a new sleep session
FitBit will suggest a time that you fell asleep based on when your last activity was the night before. It assumes lots of activity leading up to no activity is the point when you fell asleep.
Determining Wake Time. The FitBit app will assume the current time is your wake time. If you’ve not thought to enter your sleep session until an hour into your day, you may have trouble remembering exactly when you woke up if you didn’t note it at the time. You can create the sleep session and then adjust it online at FitBit.com under the Sleep heading in your Log page. You’ll probably see a normal night of sleeping with a lot of activity toward the end. That’s when you were awake in the morning and walking around. You can trim back the wake time to the point that you first noticed activity in the morning. This will give you a fairly accurate record of your sleep session for the previous night.
Activity Tracking and Sleep Monitoring iPhone Apps. I’ve tried a few of the iPhone apps designed to track exercise and monitor sleep. Some of the drawbacks to these devices are:
- Use up excessive battery power.
- Don’t integrate with online wellness programs.
- GPS programs don’t work while walking indoors or on a treadmill.
- Pedometers don’t track sleep.
- Sleep monitors dependent upon sound or bed movement are inaccurate.
Activity Tracking and Sleep Monitoring Devices. There are a few independent devices that resolve almost all of the above issues: Nike FuelBand, Jawbone Up, and the Fitbit One. After some research, I decided to get the Fitbit One. The Jawbone Up requires a physical connection to an iPhone to synchronize. I prefer wireless real-time synchronizing. I also wanted something small I could wear on my shirt rather than a wristband. So, that left the Fitbit One as the device of choice. It also includes an altimeter to measure stairs climbed.
My Personal Goals. My goal in using the Fitbit One is to provide me with some data so I can be motivated with immediate measurable feedback as I pursue my wellness goals. In particular, I’m exploring ways to improve my sleep quantity and quality. As an IT support person, I want to make an effort to be “more active” during the day, but measuring my success requires some device to do the tracking. Combining these three functions in one app is useful. Previously I’d used different iPhone apps to track nutrition, exercise, and sleep. The Fitbit iPhone app and online console track these as well as pulse (resting, normal, and high), blood pressure, pulse, and blood sugar levels. You can also create new items for tracking (such as blood oxygen level).
What’s Included. Shown below are the FitBit Plus, clip, USB wireless receiver, nighttime wrist band, and USB charging cable.
Areas Needing Improvement. The Fitbit does have room for improvement. For example, it has no pause button, so all movement is tracked as if you’re walking or running. If you do a lot of bicycle riding or spend time in a vehicle, the movements will likely be interpreted as walking or running. Keep this in mind when taking advice from the system about your caloric intake. The system will think you’ve burned more calories than you actually have and thus you’ll be encouraged to eat more than you should.
Resources. Below are some documents and resources for the FitBit.
On 10 April 2013, I started my third 120-Day challenge. Taking what I’d learned from successes and failures over the first two 120-day challenges, I began revising my approach. I won’t bore you with what failed. What seems to be working now is the following:
- Going for brisk walks in the evenings (about 30 minutes).
- Increasing my morning workout from about 20 minutes up to 30 minutes.
- Reducing bread intake.
- Avoiding chips and sweets.
- Increasing water intake.
- Going to bed early.
- Taking multi-vitamins.
- Staying away from coffee since it may disrupt sleep and/or cause arthritis-like symptoms for some people.
- Drinking the iced green tea latte from Starbucks with extra Matcha powder. The milk may offer some additional calcium absorption which is known to help with weight loss.
So, that’s my current formula for weight loss. It’s fairly simple and has nothing extreme.