Being able to read a food label is important for making sure you select the right foods for any healthy eating plan. Food Labels provide helpful tips, according to nutritional facts, ingredients, where the food came from, whether it is natural or organic, and certain heath claims made about this specific food. The data available on food labels is a good idea in managing health conditions and alert individuals with food allergies.
The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and also the USDA (Department of Agriculture) require that all food labels show exactly the same nutrition and health information so that you can compare foods and make choices according to your unique needs. They also regulate any claims produced by companies such as “light”, “low-fat,” Organic. These claims must meet strict government regulations.
The initial step in reading a label should be to consider the whole label not merely one part of the label. This way you receive the whole picture of the items that specific food contains. Below are some helpful hints to use while you're reading a food label:
Serving Size – Start here because all the information from calories to vitamins is dependant on a serving size. Consider just how much the actual meal is, what you may think is really a meal or what you are used to eating, might actually become more than one serving.
Servings per container – This tells how many servings are in the package. Some drinks have two servings inside them, so take note of this.
Calories – A calorie is a measurement of methods much energy a food provides your body. The amount on the label tells you the number of calories are in an amount of that food.
Calories from fat – Tells you how many calories for the reason that serving come from fat. For most of us forget about that 30% may come from fat.
Percent Daily Value – These percentages tell the quantity of nutrients a typical person will get from eating an amount of this food. With different 2,000 or 2500-calorie diet, these values can be useful as guide or reference so you will know whether you are consuming the right percentage of nutrients.
Fat – This really is divided and gives you values for total fat, unsaturated fat, saturated fats and trans fats. Total fat shows how much fat is within a single serving and is usually measured in grams. Saturated Fat is only part of the total of fat in that food. You should not eat more than 10-15 grams of saturated fats per day. Unsaturated fats present in nuts, vegetable oils and fish are often called “good fats.” Fats such as saturated and Trans fat that are solid at 70 degrees put you in danger of developing cardiovascular disease.
Cholesterol – The amount of cholesterol you consume daily should be under 300 milligrams.
Sodium – Aim for 2400, less than 2300 if you have high blood pressure. Healthy choices have less than 280 mg.
Total Carbohydrates – This includes several kinds of carbohydrates such as fiber and sugar. Healthy choices would come with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. People with diabetes should control their consumption of carbohydrates. Look out for the amount of sugar present in foods, sometimes there is more than expected. What you think might be lower in fat, could be packed with sugar therefore the food taste better and the other way around. The items here are under total carbohydrates.
- Dietary Fiber-Fiber is just one of carbohydrate. The recommended daily requirements for fiber are 25 gm to 30 gm.
- Soluble Fiber – This really is one part of the total dietary fiber listed above. Dietary fiber helps people with diabetes control their blood glucose helping lower the chance of heart disease.
- Sugar – Sugar is also considered a carbohydrate. This includes natural sugars as well as any added sweeteners.
- Other Carbohydrates – the dpi tells how much starch and other non-sugary submissions are in the food.
Protein – Most of the body need protein like the cells, organs, arteries, skin along with other body tissues live and grow. The daily requirements for protein are 14 gm for infants under 1 year, children under Four years need 16gm, pregnant women need about 60gm, and nursing mothers about 65gm. Most other adults need about 50gm of protein each day.
Vitamin and Minerals – Choose foods which are full of a number of vitamins and minerals. Eat foods so the percentages equal to 100% each day of the recommended daily requirement of vitamins and minerals.
Daily Values Chart – This section tells you how much should be eaten based on a 2000 and 2500 calorie diet, with list for goals of consumption of total fat, saturated fats, cholesterol, sodium, etc. It shows you how the food might squeeze into a balanced diet.
Ingredients – The label lists ingredients from greatest amount to least. If you are attempting to watch a particular ingredient for example sugar or salt ensure that it is not listed among the first three ingredients. Avoid foods which have hydrogenated, partially hydrogenated or High Fructose Corn Syrup in the ingredients list.
Contains – Some companies includes this on their own labels to alert consumers with food allergies avoid this item. Examples can include wheat, dairy, eggs, soy, and nuts.
Food labels might be daunting at first but with just a little guidance and practice, you'll be able to quickly scan a label making food choices that fit right into a healthy eating plan.