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Decoding Nutrition Labels

Decoding Nutrition Labels

Food and nutrition labels on food are packed with helpful information. Often they’re our go-to source for calorie, fat, and carbohydrate information, but they have a whole lot more to communicate to consumers.

Here are some fast facts about what information you can find on food labels, and what it really means:

  1. All ingredients lists are sorted by weight.

That’s right, the first item on any ingredients list is the one that weighs the heaviest in the product, and goes down in descending order. If you’re keeping an eye out for certain ingredients (of which you want more or less) their order on the list can be a clue to guide you. 

  1. Some foods make nutrition claims.

For better or worse, packaged foods will often come with claims that explain the value of certain nutrients, such as “low in sodium,” “high in fiber,” or “a good source of iron.” Sometimes those claims go a step further and explain why that value is good for your health, such as: “A healthy diet containing foods high in potassium and low in sodium may reduce the risk of high blood pressure, a risk factor for stroke and heart disease.”  

  1. Information on nutrition facts tables are based on serving sizes.

Serving sizes are important measurements to consider before you look at calories or any other nutrient breakdown on the list. The serving size can vary between products, and it’s often much smaller than the amount you would serve yourself if you’re not paying attention. It can help you understand how much of certain nutrients you’re eating, compare nutritional values between similarly packaged products, and gauge the amount of food you’re actually eating.  

  1. The term “%DV” means the percentage of your daily value.

In addition to serving size and calories, there are 13 core nutrients that are listed on every nutrition label: fat, saturated and trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates, fibre, sugars, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron. The percentage of your daily value requirement for most of these items is noted by %DV at the end of each line, and it’s based on the recommended serving size. If it’s less than 5%, that means it’s a very small amount, and if it’s more than 15%, it’s more significant.  The helpful thing about %DV is that it makes it easier to compare different products and make more informed food choices about what you want and need in your diet. 

  1. Not all foods must have a nutrition facts table (but most do).

By law, nearly all packaged food must have a nutrition facts table. However, there are a few food items that don’t require one: fresh produce, raw meat and seafood, onebite candies and snacks, milk sold in refillable glass bottles, individual servings of freshly prepared food intended for immediate consumption, and in-store fresh foods like bakery items and salads. On the upside, sticking to fresh produce means you don’t have to worry about preservatives or sort through any ingredients lists since there’s only one ingredient! 

  1. Calories mean energy.

We’re often told to watch our calories and think of them as an intimidating little number directly linked to putting on weight. That’s not necessarily the case. Calories represent the amount of energy in food, which come from carbohydrates, fats, and protein, all of which are necessary for proper nutrition. Your body uses this energy to perform all its daily tasks, and we need to eat enough to replenish the calories we use throughout the day. When it comes to nutrition labels, whether or not we follow the serving suggestion can be more important than counting calories.

Looking for more guidance on healthy food choices? Contact your friendly chiropractor today!

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Sleep Ergonomics, Universal Wellness Source

Sleep Ergonomics

Wake Up Pain-Free and Energized

Getting a good night’s sleep is something many of us struggle with. Sometimes, it is difficult to relax or our sleep gets disrupted. Getting enough sleep is important for more than just functioning throughout the day; it also has a major impact on our health. Sleep plays an essential biological role in recovery and energy conservation. It has also been shown that sleep is important for neural development, learning, memory, emotional regulation, cardiovascular and metabolic function, and cellular toxin removal.

Adults require on average 7–8 hours of sleep each night. However, there are some work-related factors that can have a negative impact on one’s length and quality of sleep, such as long or late shifts, travel, and daily responsibilities. Not getting enough sleep can cause excessive drowsiness, which has been associated with an increased risk of work-related injuries.

Your sleeping posture is also just as important as how you sit or stand, and it can have a great impact on your quality of sleep. This is referred to as “sleep ergonomics.” It is important to ensure that, as we rest, we are in a comfortable and safe position in order to prevent any additional strain to the body. Your body position, mattress, and pillow all contribute to sleep ergonomics.

Here are a few things to consider when it comes to sleep ergonomics:

Sleeping Positions to Reduce Back Pain:

How you sleep the majority of the time can have an impact on the quality of your sleep. However, there are a few tricks that can help improve your sleep without significantly disrupting your sleep habits. For example, if you sleep on your side, draw your legs up slightly towards your chest and put a pillow between your legs. You can also use a full-body length pillow for support.

If possible, try not to put weight on your arms; this can cause problems with circulation and place pressure on your nerves, which may cause a pins and needles sensation. If you sleep on your back, try placing a pillow under your knees to help maintain a neutral lower-back curvature. In general, sleeping on your stomach is discouraged; it can create unnecessary strain on your neck which may lead to compression of nerves and muscle tightness or pain. If sleeping on your front is still your preference, try placing a pillow under your pelvis and lower abdomen to reduce the strain.


Sleeping on a good mattress and pillow is important to support the body and keep it in a neutral position, allowing it to rest and recover from the day’s work and activities. The mattress can help support the spine’s natural curves. It has been found that a sagging mattress can negatively affect sleep quality.

Choosing The Right Pillow:

Staying in one position for too long may create tension in the neck and low back. This makes your choice of pillow all the more important. An ergonomic pillow is designed to accommodate your preferred sleep position and minimize any tension that may result from prolonged time spent in one position. They can be made of foam to help retain your form and offer greater support. They also come in different sizes. The wrong-sized pillow can aggravate any neck or shoulder problems. Your ideally-fitted pillow should support the head, neck, and shoulders, and should adapt to the different contours of these areas—this will optimize your sleeping position throughout the night.

Being more aware of sleep ergonomics can help improve your sleep, reduce pain caused by poor sleeping positions, and allow you to wake up with more energy the following day. Re-evaluate your sleep ergonomics and see if it makes a difference in your life.


Schedule an appointment today!

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To prevent developing various MSK conditions from working or studying, we’ve shared helpful tips below to maintain a healthy spine and MSK system.

Keeping a Healthy Spine at School and Work

During the summer, it is normally much easier to stay active with weekend getaways and weekly summer outdoor activities. As we shift into a busier fall season, people may neglect their health for the sake of productivity – whether it’s sitting at your desk at school or at work, or even transporting books and laptops. It’s important for people to keep active while working to minimize the risk of developing musculoskeletal (MSK) injuries or conditions.

Did you know? The countless hours of sitting you do will eventually add up and takes a toll on your body and posture. If you slouch over your desk while typing or reading, you decrease function of your lungs and put pressure on other internal organs, which can affect ability to breathe and function properly. Also, your circulation, especially in legs, could be compromised. To prevent developing various MSK conditions from working or studying, we’ve shared helpful tips below to maintain a healthy spine and MSK system.

1. Set Up Your Office Space Ergonomically

Lower your computer monitor so that it is at eye level to prevent you from slouching downwards or tilting your head up. Raise your chair and adjust the keyboard and mouse to maintain your arms in a relaxed position and an “open” angle of the elbows. If possible, try to turn your body instead of only your head to speak to a colleague or look away from your screen.

2. Carry Right, Carry Light

If you carry your laptop to and from work every day, or your books to school – be mindful of how the weight is distributed in your bag. Laptop bags are usually swung over one shoulder, which can take a toll on your spine, increasing your risk of injury. A properly fitted backpack can help prevent additional strain on your body for both children and adults.

3.  Take a 15 Minute Break

Taking frequent breaks throughout the day to walk around the office will help relieve the strain of sitting on your body. Aside from short breaks, try to take a few 15 minutes breaks, and make at least one of those breaks more active. Walking, stretching or a program like Fit-in-15 is perfect for those people who want to stay active even at work or at school. The program allows you to build your own 15 minute workout from a menu of simple activities at no cost to you, making it simple to commit to exercise at work.

4. Stretch It Out

Perform simple stretches frequently throughout the day to release the tension in your shoulders and back. Even if you need to perform the stretches while sitting, it’s enough to relieve some stress and strain from your back and promote blood flow to the area. The Straighten Up Canada app is great for this, but even simple neck and arm stretches can help.

It’s really easy to forget about time when focusing on what you’re doing at work or school. Yet, your body may benefit from movement throughout the day. Take a few moments during your day to do some stretches or light physical activity. Once you introduce activity into your routine, you will likely be more energized and ultimately, productive.

For more tips that can help you at work and school, contact our chiropractors or stop by a clinic.

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