With all of the information out there regarding nutrition, what, when and how to eat has become incredibly confusing. You have claims that counter each other perfectly like don’t eat carbs, eat carbs but not before bedtime, eat more protein, eat less protein, only eat non-animal based protein, eat all the animals you desire without restraint but don’t eat too many vegetables because of their starch count, eat fat, don’t eat fat, only eat fat while dancing around a fire chanting lines from Mean Girls, etc. Seriously, I am a board-certified nutritional consultant, I live nutrition, study it daily, and, I am confused sometimes. So where does that leave you the average confused-food-eating citizen? Well here’s what I have learned from personal experience. We were not all created the same. What works for me may not work for you but there are some basics to focus on and use as markers. For starters a calorie is not a calorie, meaning, if you ingest 600 calories from sugar, preservatives, chemicals, etc. versus 600 calories from whole foods no sugar beyond what’s naturally there, no chemicals, no preservatives with all it’s enzymes and nutrients intact the outcome for your body will be outstandingly different. So make smart choices, know exactly what you are eating. Easier said than done especially in our age of brilliant food marketing. Packaged food is a multi-billion dollar industry and don’t think for a second that they haven’t caught on to the fact that people are starting to realize that WHAT they eat is very important, but, unfortunately, most people trust food makers and rely on catchwords on the packaging like “Natural”, “Fat Free”, “Organic”, etc. when pick out food to purchase. I was in the store the other day and saw Yoplait yogurt in almost every cart and wanted to scream. Why? For starters have you ever looked at their ingredients? Well here you go: Cultured Pasteurized Grade A Low Fat Milk, Sugar, Strawberries, Modified Corn Starch, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Nonfat Milk, Kosher Gelatin, Citric Acid, Tricalcium Phosphate, Natural Flavor, Pectin, Colored with Carmine, Vitamin A Acetate, Vitamin D3. Do you know what carmine is, neither did I. Carmine is made from the desiccated bodies of female Dactlyopius coccus Costa, a bug that feeds on red berries in Peru. Yum. Taking a look at the ingredients list it’s fair to say that the calories in Yoplait yogurt are approximately 63% sugar. Are you serious!? Yes. But if you read the enticing packaging without reading the ingredients it’s on you, not Yoplait. One rule of thumb that is really easy: If there are more than 5 ingredients most of which you have no idea what they are, if sugar (esp. HFCS) is the first or second ingredient, put it back on the shelf and walk away.