Friday, July 10 2015
People look at food labels for different reasons. But whatever the reason, most people would like to know how to use this information more effectively and easily. The following label-building skills are intended to make it easier for you to use nutrition labels to make quick, informed food choices that contribute to a healthy diet.
1 – Start with the serving information at the top of the label.
Serving sizes are standardized to make it easier to compare similar foods.
The size of the serving on the food package influences the number of calories and the nutrient amounts listed on the top part of the label. Pay attention to the serving size, especially how many servings there are in the food package. Then ask yourself, “How many servings am I consuming”?
2 – Next, check total calories per serving.
Pay attention to the calories per serving and how many servings you’re really consuming if you eat the whole package. If you double the servings you eat, you double the calories and nutrients.
The next section of information on a nutrition label is about the amounts of specific nutrients in the product.
3 – Limit these nutrients.
The American Heart Association recommends limiting these nutrients. Based on a 2,000- calorie diet, no more than 11-13 grams of saturated fat, as little trans fat as possible, and no more than 1,500 mg of sodium.
4 – Get enough of these nutrients.
Make sure you get enough of beneficial nutrients such as: dietary fiber, protein, calcium, iron, vitamins and other nutrients you need every day.
5 – Quick guide to % Daily Value.
The % Daily Value (DV) tells you the percentage of each nutrient in a single serving, in terms of the, daily recommended amount. As a guide, if you want to consume less of a nutrient (such as saturated fat or sodium), choose foods with a lower % DV — 5 percent or less. If you want to consume more of a nutrient (such as fiber), seek foods with a higher % DV — 20 percent or more.
Here are more tips for getting as much health information as possible from the Nutrition Facts label:
Remember that the information shown in these panels is based on 2,000 calories a day. You may need to consume less or more than 2,000 calories depending upon your age, gender, activity level, and whether you’re trying to lose, gain or maintain your weight.
When the Nutrition Facts label says a food contains “0 g” of trans fat, but includes “partially hydrogenated oil” in the ingredient list, it means the food contains trans fat, but less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving. So, if you eat more than one serving, you could quickly reach your daily limit of trans fat.
Learning how to read and understand food labels can help you make healthier choices.