How To Read A Nutrition Label
You can't become more educated about what you're ingesting in those purchased foods if you don't know how to read a nutrition label. In 2004, the FDA's Obesity Working Group voted to strengthen food labels to aid consumers in eating a healthier diet and maintaining a healthier weight. The new regulations added more information to the nutritional labeling for all foods, including the vastly important portion size. If you're looking to learn how to read a nutrition label, follow the simple instructions below and you'll be on your way to a better, healthier future.
- The first thing to look for as you read a nutrition label is how many servings are included in the package. Toward the top of the label is serving size and servings per package. Pay particular attention here as that small bag of chips may seem like a single serving to you but could actually be 2.5 servings. If you want to get healthier, measure or weigh your food outside of the packaging and stay within the limits for one serving.
- The next part of the nutritional label is the calories and the calories from fat portions of the label. The calories will be the total calories included in ONE serving. To lose weight, you must reduce the amount of calories you ingest so look for nutrition labels which have 100-200 calories per serving.
- Nutrients, such as fat, sodium, or cholesterol are included next on the food label. It's wise to reduce your sodium if you're watching your weight, or have high blood pressure as sodium (salt) will make you retain water. Retaining water makes your heart work harder.
- Pay particular attention to fiber. You should get in at least 25 grams of fiber a day to keep things moving smoothly. Also, increasing the fiber in your diet will make you feel fuller for longer.
- The bottom part of the nutrition label lists the daily minimum requirements for nutrients. This part of the label is the same throughout all foods so you don't really need to pay that much attention to it if you learn how early on how much of each nutrient you should have on a daily basis.