Aaron Osborne, Sports Nutrition Consultant, NREMT-Paramedic
Life and Performance Nutrition LLC
Cell (816) 985-9940
Aaron “Ozzy” Osborne is a friend and fellow KCFD firefighter of firefighterathlete.com founder Ben Schloegel. He is an ironman finisher and fitness and health junkie and his passion is unparalleled. We are always looking for guys who live this stuff and work on the front lines as first responders and would love collaboration from all. Ozzy raises some good points in this article and the series to follow, if you are looking for nutritional insight you should check his site out. Ozzy works on Truck 15 “A” shift in KCMO.
Reading Nutrition information on packaging.
How many firefighters read labels before buying food or a drink? Why would you read a label before buying or eating a specific food or drink? Food reacts just like medication in some aspects when you’re talking about the human body. Think of food as you would your SCBA or a medication that you would administer to a sick patient. You wouldn’t administer a medication to a patient without reading the vial or medication box. One wouldn’t go on an interior attack without checking their SCBA. So why wouldn’t you read the label before you eat or buy a specific food?
Here are some basics on how to read a food label. A carbohydrate also known as a sugar has 4 Calories per gram, protein has 4 calories per gram, and fat has 9 calories per gram. These basic numbers can be useful when reading a food label. Look at the serving size because this will tell you how many calories, gram of fat, sugar, and protein. It takes a matter of seconds to read a food label, so there is no reason whatsoever one shouldn’t read the label before they buy a food item or consuming it. Educating yourself by reading food labels can make a lifelong impact on your family, fellow firefighters, and yourself.
Let’s use the label above, so we all can understand how this works.
Fat- 0 grams (0 calories)
Carbohydrates-sugar 23 grams. 23 X 4= 92 (92 calories)
Protein 21 Grams 21×4= 84 (84 calories)
Total Calories per serving 176 Calories
Most food labels round up when it comes to total calories (this label reads 180 Calories per serving)
In 2012 there were 81 LODDs in the United States alone. There were 39 firefighter deaths related to heart disease in 2012(1). A huge part of that is a firefighter’s diet and how unhealthy their lifestyle is. In 2011 there were 50 LODDs related to stress, overexertion, cardiac or cerebro-vascular in nature such as heart attacks, strokes, and other events such as extreme climatic thermal exposure(2). Would someone explain to me why it isn’t important to live a good-healthy lifestyle? Something as simple as reading a food label before you buy the food item could possibly prevent a heart attack or stroke. I don’t think your fellow firefighters and family want to visit you in a hospital or go to your funeral because you didn’t choose to live a healthy lifestyle. We have a responsibility to our families and fellow firefighters to live a healthy lifestyle!! Don’t become a statistic and apart of the LODDs!!!