Walk into any grocery or supermarket today and your choices are endless. Take vitamins for instance. Selecting a vitamin immediately presents you with choices anywhere from a daily multivitamin or specific health support; kids, women or men formulas; and gummy, gel, or capsule options.
At the heart of your decision, you want a nutrition product that not only meets your health needs, but also has high quality ingredients. And it must be made by a trusted company with top food safety standards.
Whether you’re in the market for something that will help you achieve your health goal or you are simply looking for a complete nutrition product, here’s where we agree: You want to know your food is high-quality and delicious.
Unfortunately, amidst the wide grocery selection, there are a lot of not-so-healthy options disguising as nutrition. Luckily, we have expert, Abby Sauer, RD, a registered dietitian with Abbott, here, to give us tips on what to look for.
1. Know Your Ingredient IQ
Familiarize yourself with the rights and wrongs when it comes to a quality nutrition product. “You want to make sure you’re looking for the things you want to limit and the things you want to add to your diet—it’s all about a balance,” says Sauer.
Typically, you want to limit anything in excess from calories and fat to sodium and sugar, she says. On the flip side, you want to get enough protein, dietary fiber, and plenty of vitamins and minerals. Look for high nutrition density—meaning your calories are put to good use.
While requirements vary based on your individual goals and needs, Sauer explains that the majority of adults require protein—and many don’t get enough—especially older adults who aren’t eating as much or who experience changes in appetite.
Many may not realize how much protein should be taken in each day. In fact, a survey by Abbott and AARP showed only 17 percent of people 50 and older do know the right amount. Healthy adults should aim for about 90g of protein per day, or 20-30g at each meal, Sauer says.
What’s more, looking at percentages on the nutrition label – for protein and other key nutrients can guide you towards the good stuff—when it's 10 percent or higher, you know you’re choosing a quality nutrition product, says Sauer. And if it’s at 20 percent, it’s an excellent source.
2. Look For Scientific Evidence
Yes, you might think with your taste buds, but before digging in, take a moment to think about what kind of nutrition you need, and make sure the company behind it is qualified to provide it. Reassurance of science-backed data and validity will let you know that what you’re buying is from a trusted company – and helping you meet your nutritional needs
“With food and nutrition, there’s advice everywhere—things are labeled good and bad; unless you know there’s actual science behind it, and you can see the nutritional benefits through studies and research, it’s hard to cut through the clutter,” says Sauer.
What’s more, it’ll make decisions easier, when torn between products, she says—saving time, energy, and cash.
3. Make Sure It Fits Your Need
A quality nutrition product will be individualized. In order to see changes, make sure you’re consuming it properly, meaning “how you’re taking it, how often, and with which activities,” advises Sauer.
Give yourself a timeline to experience the benefits. For instance, if you’re looking to gain energy, that reaction might appear instantly, while a goal of seriously building muscle strength could take longer, she adds.
A proper complete nutrition product will provide a balance of macronutrients (protein, carbs, healthy fats) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), says Sauer. Getting a little bit of everything is key.
4. Know How It Got There
When it comes to manufactured products, it’s important to ensure the company adheres to international quality standards and sources from qualified suppliers.
When it comes to Abbott’s products, you’ll know where the ingredients come from: a quality supplier using high quality standards. Taking an inside look at manufacturing, we can learn of a company’s safety practices, how they test for quality at every stage, and its high-tech quality systems that meet global standards.
5. Share Success Stories
If you’ve found a quality nutrition product, share it with others. Or if you’re on the fence, ask for recommendations.
And, go beyond the label—find out more information on the product and company. Visit the company’s website to learn about their expertise and read about the science behind the product, the process, and the nutritional profile.
Food is about the interaction between how it tastes, how it was created, and what it does for you. A trusted company, like Abbott, is aware of and consistently striving to meet people’s taste preferences, standards, and desire for confidence in a company and its quality nutrition products.