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Checking Nutrition Labels is Not Optional

Nutrition facts Labels - dreamstime_s_28179765

Looking at Nutrition Labels is no longer an option.  If you want to eat healthy, you need to look at food labels to have a better idea of what you are putting in your body.  Since the information on a food nutrition label can seem confusing, we have put together a quick overview of the basics.

Serving Size & Servings per Container

  • Serving Sizes are a standardized measurement, such as cups or pieces. Recognizable Serving Sizes make it easier to compare similar foods. It is also what dictates the number of calories and nutrient amounts that are listed in the top of the nutrition label.
  •  Pay attention to the Serving Size and the number of Servings per Container.  Monitor yourself so you know EXACTLY how many servings you are eating (e.g., 1/2 serving, 1 serving, or more).  Without being aware of it, you could double or triple your calorie count simply by consuming more than the Serving Size listed. (Who hasn’t gobbled down a whole bag of chips before they realized it?)

Calories and Calories from Fat

  • Calories provide a measure of how much energy you get from a serving of this food. Many Americans consume more calories than they need, and the calorie section of the label can help you manage this issue.  Remember: the number of servings you consume determines the number of calories you actually eat.
  • Be aware of calories from fat.  If the Nutrition Label has a serving size that is 250 calories, but 50% of that comes from fat, than you need to rethink this food choice.

 Nutrients 

  • The nutrient section of the Food Label is made up of nutrients that you want to limit and those that you want to eat more of.
  • Nutrients to limit are:  Total Fat (Saturated Fat and Trans Fat), Cholesterol, and Sodium.
  • Nutrients to get enough of are these:  Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium and Iron

Footnote on the Bottom of the Nutrition Fact Label

  • Note the * used after the heading “%Daily Value” on the Nutrition Facts label. It refers to the Footnote in the lower part of the nutrition label, which tells you “%DVs are based on a 2,000 calorie diet“. This statement must be on all food labels.

For more detailed information check out this info from the Food and Drug Administration:  http://www.fda.gov/food/ingredientspackaginglabeling/labelingnutrition/ucm274593.htm

 

Chief Boomer Sue

 

 

 

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