How to Make Healthy Tortilla Choices and Read Nutrition Labels – Mind Over Munch

How to Make Healthy Tortilla Choices and Read Nutrition Labels – Mind Over Munch

July 31, 2019 100 By William Morgan


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Hey friends, so in my last What I Eat In A Day video. I made a snack where I used a tortilla,
I know it’s not tortilla, quesadilla, I was just kidding. But anyways a lot of you guys showed
interests in a video on how to choose Tortilla so, here it is. So the first thing to think
about when choosing tortillas is to think about health claims and what health claims are
important to you. We have different fitness goals, so we are going to have different things
that we are looking for in a tortilla, maybe you want it be lower fat, maybe you want it to
have more wholesome ingredients. I can’t tell you what you’re looking for, so my goal today
isn’t to tell you which tortilla to buy. It is simply to teach you how to look at the package,
look at the label and decide for yourself what is going to be best. Before we get started, you
are not going to find a tortilla that is low in calories, low in fat and low in carbs. That
would be nice but unfortunately these things have to be made out of something, they can’t be
made out of air, right? Also the basics of this video, so looking at any sort of package and
nutrition label can be applied to any product. We are just going to use tortilla as an example.
I also did a how to choose bread episode, if you are interested you can check that up. There
are hundreds of tortilla out there. Today I am just going to talk about five or six of them so
that we can get all the points across but again I am not partial to any of these brands, I am
just simply using them to teach you the information. So starting with the traditional
“Flour Tortilla.” And for the sake of consistency, we will be looking at all medium sized
tortillas today. The first thing you want to look at when you look at the nutrition label is
the serving size. So one serving size here is one tortilla which is 49 grams. That means
49 grams by weight. The next thing you want to look at is the calories and what the calories
are in comparison to the size by weight. So just looking at one that s not going to mean
anything but later on when we compare the other tortillas, that will mean something.
So this package of tortillas, just regular flour ones is 140 calories, 3.5 grams of fat,
24 grams of carbs, one of which are fiber and 4 grams of protein. So that is your base.
The other thing you’re going to want to look at are the ingredients. Now we pretty much know
that a basic Flour Tortilla is not ideal and that s because it is made with white grains,
right? So when you look at the ingredients, enriched bleached wheat flour, pretty much is a
secret way to say white flour, which I talk about in the “How To Choose Bread” episode. So if
your first ingredient says that, that is not whole wheat. But you already knew this wasn t
whole wheat because it s not claiming to be. So I m just using this one to start with so that
we can compare all of the others to it as we go throughout the course of this video. On to the
health claims. So this is where every single tortilla out there wants you to think it is the
best tortilla. It tastes the best, it has the best health claims, but is that true. So the
first one we re going to look at is Multi-Grain. Multi-Grain is sort of funny to me because
they try to make you think that it is healthier because it has multiple grains right,
Multi grain. But really, if it is whole wheat it would probably be healthier because usually
Multi-Grain also includes a white or a fine grain. But the only way to know is by looking.
So when we look at this tortilla, first what do we look at? The serving size. One tortilla is
49 grams. So that is exactly the same size as the Flour Tortilla. This tortilla has a
150 calories, 4 grams of fat, 23 grams of carbs, 5 of which are fiber and 4 grams of protein.
So you ll notice the calories are a little bit higher but not a huge difference. There is a
little bit more fat, the carbs are about the same, slightly less and proteins the same. What’s
really different here is the fiber. There s 5 grams of fiber rather than 1, and that is because
of the grains that are being used in this multi grain tortilla have more fiber in them. And if
you look at the first ingredient, it is whole wheat flour, followed by water. So that s good
that means these are likely tortillas made with whole wheat. Now the bummer about most tortillas
bought in a store, the ingredients lists are pretty long. So they aren t the cleanest foods you
could buy, they have been pretty processed but we can make healthier choices when we are looking
at them by reading the labels ourselves. A quick note about ingredients lists. If you didn t know,
the ingredients on the label have to be listed in order of how prevalent that ingredient is in
the product. So whatever the first ingredient is, is used the most. Whatever the second ingredient
is, it s used the second most and that s by weight. And that is like by law required to be the
case. So if you notice that like sugar is the first ingredient, that s probably not the tortilla
you want, just be aware. Next up is the carb balance. So what is the claim that this is making?
It’s making me think that it’s probably lower in carbs. It says 6 grams carbs and then really
small next to that 6 grams, it has a net. 6 grams of net carbs. Well if I don t know what that
means, I might just ignore that word and think it means 6 grams of carbs and that s pretty dang
low if you consider that the other two were 24 and 23 right? But, let s examine further. One
tortilla is serving size 42 grams, so it s a little bit smaller than these but not much. It s a
120 calories so a little bit less but it s also a little bit smaller. 3 grams of fat, 19 grams of
carbs and 5 grams of protein. So the carbs here, 19 compared to 24, is not that big of a
difference. It s not big enough for this to really be called a low carb wrap, right? But if you
look at the fiber, its 13 grams of fiber. So net, this is where the word net comes into play,
your net carbs are your total carbs minus the fiber. So 19 minus 13 is 6. So you do end up with
6 grams of net carbs. Why is that important? Well fiber is something that we do want to consume.
So at least when it comes to marketing, a lot of people try to say that you really only need to
worry about those net carbs. But that s not really the truth. When it comes down to the science
of it, all carbs matter. Now not all carbs are bad, carbs aren t bad but you need to be aware of
all the carbs. You can t just forget some of them because you feel like it. So this is not a low
carb tortilla because it still has 19 grams of carbs. But again if I didn t know what that word
meant, net, and I didn t look to the back, then I might not know that. Now looking at the
ingredients here. The first ingredient is water, okay. The second ingredient is modified food
starch. So there is more modified food starch in this than any sort of wheat and the wheat that
is in here, enriched bleached wheat flour. So we know that means, why? So there s more modified
food starch which is probably what s upping the fiber. Is that really where we want to get our
fiber from? I mean we want our fiber from wholesome sources like whole grains or you know fruits,
vegetables, that sort of thing. So even if there are 6 grams of net carbs and 13 grams of fiber,
is it really the fiber we want? Next up, 95 percent fat free. A whole wheat tortilla. So it s
making a few claims here. It is low in fat and they are whole wheat. Let s review. One tortilla,
49 grams in size, so it is the same as the original Flour Tortilla. 130 calories so pretty
close. 2 grams of fat, 24 carbs for fiber and 5 protein. Now the health claim here is that
this is 95 percent fat free. It contains 2 grams of fat. The original Flour Tortilla contains
3.5 grams of fat. So this is 1.5 grams of fat less. Is that a huge difference? Is it enough for
me to really buy this? I don t know, I would probably buy this more because it s whole wheat
than because of the fat free claim and it is whole wheat. Upon review the ingredients whole
wheat flour is the first ingredient, followed by water. The bummer is the third ingredient is
brown sugar, so. Is this the tortilla for you? Who could know? Next up the Spinach Tortilla.
Now this is an ever so deceiving tortilla. Sorry I had to do it. Because it s green so that
means its healthy right? It says on the front, it is made with fresh herbs and vegetables.
It s a savory spinach tortilla. Let s review here. One tortilla is 43 grams, so a little bit
smaller in size but not much. 110 calories, so it is a little bit less calories than any of
the others we ve seen. 2.5 grams of fat, 19 grams of carbs, 3 grams of protein. Now there s
a few things to look at further here. Number one, the fiber. There is a half a gram of fiber
in this bad boy. You would think if there is going to really be vegetables in this making it
healthier, that there would be more fiber right, because that s one of the great thing about
vegetables. But this actually has less fiber than any of the tortillas we ve looked at so far.
Let s look at the ingredients, enriched bleached flour. So is white flour. Now I m like where s
the spinach? Where s the vegetables? I have to go down, half way past vegetable shortening,
partially hydrogenated soy bean and cotton seed and canola oil. Then I find vegetable puree and
extracts. So pretty much this is some really finely ground up spinach that s used to dye the
white tortilla grain. This is not really a nutrient dense product like they want you to think
that it is but you wouldn t know that if you didn t read the label. To finish up I have two
tortillas that I m going to share with you that I personally choose. And I was actually only
able to find one in the store, of course the day that I go to buy all these to film they don t
have the one that I need but anyways. The first up is La Banderita and I don t know if I,
I don t have a very good Spanish pronunciation so don t judge me. But this is a low carb,
no cholesterol, high source of fiber tortilla. Why do I choose it? Is it really a good choice?
Let s see. The size of the tortilla, 45 grams, so about you know the same size as we ve been
looking at. 81 calories, so that s significantly lower. That is you know, two thirds of the
calories of the other tortillas. 2 grams of fat, 11 grams of carbs, 6 of which are fiber and
5 grams of protein. 11 grams of carbs, that s literally half the carbs. So this actually is a
lower carb tortilla, we re not talking net carbs, we re talking total carbs. And still half of
those carbs are from fiber. Now, where s that fiber coming from again? You know, who can know,
lets investigate here. Ingredients, first we ve got water, whole wheat flour, corn oil.
So this is a whole wheat tortilla and it has oat fiber but the oats are still a whole,
whole grain. And it does have you know a decent, a decently lengthy list of ingredients
but it s actually still shorter than most of these other varieties. Now is this the healthiest
tortilla you can get? Health is a relative term. It is not the least processed tortilla I can
get but as far as macros go, this one works. It s lower in calories, lower in carbs, low fat
and still decent protein and fiber, so. This is one option if you re going to go with the
more processed tortilla. The other option is the one that I couldn t get and that is an
Ezekiel Tortilla. So if you enjoy Ezekiel bread or sprouted grain bread, they also make
tortillas. Looking at the stats, they are 57 grams so they re actually a little bit bigger
but they re also more calories, 150 calories. 3.5 grams of fat, 24 grams of carbs, 5 of
which are fiber and 6 grams of protein. So macro wise, the Ezekiel Tortilla isn t that much
of a greater choice. What s really great about this tortilla are the ingredients. The list is
short, you know what all of them are and it s made from sprouted grains. So it s very healthy.
This is actually a nutritious choice. These other options, they re pretty much not hurting
your body but they re not really doing it much good either. The Ezekiel Tortilla is actually
offering a little bit of nutrition. Now the downside, I personally think the
Ezekiel Tortillas don t taste as great. They tend to fall apart a little bit.
They don t, you know I can t really hold my whole burrito together as well but I still like
to eat them and I try to eat less processed foods. If I m really craving that quesadilla and
I want it to stick together really well, I ll go with the La Banderita but the Ezekiel
is really the cleanest choice that I have found. Now again I m not partial to these brands,
I just wanted to share them with you for examples. So if you have a favourite brand that
you ve discovered and you want to share in the comments below, please do and please
also recognise that I, this is not me telling you to eat these tortillas or not eat these
tortillas. I really want you to learn to make an informed decision on your own. So I just
wanted to take this information and make it easy to understand so that you can go and make
healthy choices when you are at the store. One thing that we didn t really talk about just
because this video can only be so long, is sodium. Now a lot of the really processed
tortillas can have a lot of sodium like over 350 grams. So you definitely want to look at
that especially if you are trying to consume less sodium. They do have tortillas out there
that are specifically made to be lower in sodium but you know they don t always measure up
in all the other departments. So it s a little give and take always. You have to kind of
recognize when you are going for you know, lower carb or lower fat, again they can t be
made of air. So when they take something out, they have to put something else back in
to make up for it. So that s all for this video, thanks for bearing with me, I know this is a
little bit long, but I hope you learnt something from it, and if you did I hope you would
give this video a thumbs up, and share it with someone to help teach them on how to make
healthier choices on their own. I will see you on Monday for a brand new episode,
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so don t forget to subscribe, and hope you have a great weekend.