If you are a BTM2 client, you are expected to read and understand a few things about food labels. Because the calories, fat, and sugar are so meticulously managed on the diet, you need to know what to look for when it comes to food that is in a bag, box, or can. (A little disclaimer: you are not eating many products that are processed, so there isn’t too much label reading, but if you do need to buy something in a bag, box, or can you will be equipped and ready!)
So many times, we have clients putting labels of products on the private FB page asking if they can have that product. Many times, it is really obvious that it cannot be added because it literally says sugar or has some ingredient that is not on the food list, but other times, it might not be that simple. So here are a few things we want our clients to know when going to the store.
We want our clients to avoid sugar and the many forms it comes in and chemicals and/or preservatives, as much as possible. (I have linked a great article to learn about common food additives here.) There are two places on the label that you will need to focus on in identifying whether or not the product is good to purchase while on the diet. The first place is the ingredient list and the second place is the nutritional facts.
When judging a product concerning sugar, start with the ingredient list. If sugar or the many variations of sugar that are used in foods is listed as an added ingredient, then almost always your coach or the BTM2 admins will say not to use it. Any ingredient that ends in an “ose” is sugar in some form. The one “ose” ingredient you CAN have is called cellulose. It is actually a plant fiber and is an acceptable ingredient.
There are many products that naturally have sugar. One of the most popular items naturally containing sugar, that you can have while on the BTM2 weight loss program, is salsa. Our rule of thumb for products that naturally have sugar is (1) check to see if the company adds extra sugar. If they do, it will be on the ingredients list. (Click here to see a label of salsa that is a clear NO!) If there is sugar added, we usually say don’t buy it. But, the second thing we have you check is the nutritional facts. If the product contains less than 1 gram or less than 2% sugar, then go ahead and buy it. (Click this link to see the label of an acceptable salsa product!)
Here is another thing I want my clients to know: when it comes to sugar, our labels have it measured in grams. We Americans are not very familiar with grams, so when we see it, we really don’t understand what it “looks” like. So if we know that 4 grams = 1 teaspoon, that is helpful! Ok so whatever the grams are, divide that by 4 and you will get the number of teaspoons per serving. For example, if one glass of orange juice has 16 grams of sugar and you divided 16 by 4, you get 4, which is 4 teaspoons of sugar in one glass of O.J.! You might think twice about giving your kid O.J. before school. 🙂
No forms of artificial sweeteners are allowed on the BTM2 program so you also need to watch for those. Saccharine/Sweet-n-low (pink packets), Aspartame/Equal (blue packets) and Sucralose/Splenda (yellow packets) are all toxic to the body. Any product that touts itself as “sugar-free” usually contains one of the above-mentioned ingredients.
A terrific substitute for sugar while on the BTM2 diet is stevia. Stevia is not artificial, it is an herb that is 200 times sweeter than sugar. Although you can’t have all their products while our diet, we love Sweet-Leaf company’s products. We carry their entire line of flavored liquid stevias, their water drops, and their packets of powdered stevia.
The most popular products that come already packaged are condiments and spice blends, so these always need to be examined before buying. A perfect example of a spice blend that you might not even think about is seasoned salt – yup! It has sugar. Whereas, Adobo does not, so you can have it. Most condiments and salad dressings are not allowed on this program because they have sugar. If you are looking for acceptable dressings on the BTM2 program, check out Simple Girl’s line of dressings and BBQ sauces. They were formulated for low or no sugar/ no oil diets like ours. Nature Hollow ketchup is also amazing and it is made with stevia, not sugar. Surprisingly, most hot sauces do not have sugar, so they are allowed.
The second category of things to watch for on labels is all the chemicals and preservatives that are routinely added to our food supply. This one is actually pretty easy – if you have to Google an ingredient or can’t pronounce it, it’s probably not good for you! Most acceptable products that aren’t on the food lists are organic with minimal ingredients, and honestly, there are very FEW that can be added to your low-calorie program.
So in a nutshell, read the ingredients list first, here is where you will find added chemicals, preservatives, or added sugar, and if it is the sugar you are trying to judge, look at the nutritional facts for the grams or percentage of sugar in the product.