Cheese, Red Lights, and The Angry Italians…

It’s so simple it confuses you

To be honest, even I’m confused when I try to explain it.

And I’m supposed to the expert.

^^^ Which is saying something, right?

In two of the talks I’ve done in the last week about 90% of the audience said they’re confused.

And I’m talking about the traffic light signals on the foods in the supermarket.

You’ve seen them, right?

It colour ‘codes’ calories, fat, saturated fat, salt and sugars to ‘greens’, ‘ambers’ and ‘reds’


‘Go’, ‘Steady’, ‘Stop’

It sounds so simple.

So simple that it’s confusing.

^^^ Nearly as confusing as ‘eat your healthy wholegrains but avoid junk food like popcorn’ (what’s the difference between corn with some sugar and salt on top and porridge with honey on top?)

And here’s why this traffic light system is confusing you:

* Some foods may be based on a 100 g serving

* Some foods may be based on a ‘per portion’ serving

* It’s voluntary (so many ‘healthy’ cereals refuse to put them on and just have ‘grey’ colours instead)

* If they were on fruit…would this make an apple ‘red’ on sugars and mean you skip it?

And not to mention my favourite:

It demonises the diet that’s associated with:

                  * Increased weight loss

                  * Decreased risk of diabetes

                  * Decreased risk of heart disease

That is, the Mediterranean diet.

We start to become ‘scared’ of foods like olives, olive oil, Mozzarella, Parma ham, beef, nuts and even oily fish (due to the REDs on the fat)

^^^ This is something that Italian exports and imports are worried about because they will be classed as ‘unhealthy’!

Even my favourite cheese (Wensleydale, if you’re wondering. And not just because the wife is from Yorkshire) per 30 g portion is:

RED for fat

RED for saturates

GREEN for sugars

And RED for salt

Now, let’s take Corn Flakes (Sainsbury’s own)

Per 30 g portion WITHOUT MILK (yep, it gives you the ‘portion’ without the milk and assume you’ll be eating your corn flakes dry LOL) it’s:

GREEN for fat

GREEN for saturates

AMBER for sugar

AMBER for salt

^^^ So, what does this actually teach you?

I mean, most of the people at the seminars I talked at last week thought this meant that they could eat more of the corn flakes because it had more ‘greens’

Failing to consider the fact that a 30 g portion of my beloved Wensleydale and a 30 g serving of corn flakes (without the milk) are BOTH 114 calories!

And the worrying thing is that members of the audience stated that they’d be more likely to overindulge in the corn flakes because they saw it was GREEN

They also mentioned that they often feel hungry an hour later after the corn flakes (so they’d eat more)

Why is this important?

We know that overall food intake is key to your weight loss.

We also know that protein is the most filling nutrient (so it can help curb your cravings)

Now, the corn flakes portion provide the same amount of calories as the Wensleydale portion


The Wensleydale gives you some 3 times that amount of protein and probably satisfies a lot of cheese lovers cravings.

It might even keep you full for longer (have you ever actually measured out a ‘portion’ of cereal? If not, try it!)

You see, you might have opted for the corn flakes because you thought you were being ‘good’

Only to go crazy on the cheese at the weekend as a ‘reward’ for not having any

And this is exactly why a nutritional strategy that doesn’t – unnecessarily – restrict or demonise foods trumps an extremist, cookie-cutter diet for improving your relationship with food, putting you in control of your cravings, and achieving sustainable FAT loss so you can fit back into your favourite clothes and feel more confident about yourself.

Speak soon,

Matt ‘losing faith’ Fruci

PS. Do you take note of the traffic light symbols?

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