The nutrition facts on your food’s packaging is more than just an easy read over breakfast. These labels hold important insider information about the foods that you’re eating!
Without labels, you wouldn’t know what is in the food you are about to consume or its nutritional value. It would be anyone’s best guess!
According to a health and diet survey from the FDA, over half of the respondents claimed that they often read the label the first time they purchase a food product. Unfortunately, though, many people aren’t quite certain what the information on labels means. Food labels can be difficult to understand, especially if you don’t know what you are looking for.
If you’d like to know more about the food you’re eating, check the label. Here are some important things that the nutrient facts can tell you:
As much as some of us would like to assume that a serving is the entire package, sadly, this isn’t often the case. There’s usually more than one serving inside the container. Most of us know this, but it’s easy to forget about this crucial piece of info when the package is small. Checking the serving size is one of the most important parts of reading labels; all of the nutritional information is listed according to servings. Knowing what the allotted serving size is can then help you to calculate this information accurately.
It’s also important to read the ingredients to ensure you are getting the whole scoop on what your food is made from. First, it’s important to note that ingredients are listed in order of volume, so there will be more of the first ingredient than the last. This means that if sugar is listed as one of the first ingredients, you can be certain that there will be a significant amount. Companies like to hide sugar in products by adding two or three different sweeteners. This way, each ingredient’s volume will be lower, making it appear that there’s less. On that note, watch out for words ending in “ose.” In short, this means that the ingredient is a sugar. You’ll also want to avoid or limit your intake of foods that contain partially hydrogenated oil – the primary source of trans fat. As a general rule, shorter ingredient lists with recognizable ingredients are always a good sign.
The label should also list the percentage of your daily recommended intake of nutrients that are found in a serving of the food. It’s based upon a 2,000 calorie a day diet, so keep in mind that your needs may vary depending on your age, gender and activity level. Still, this is a helpful guide if you are trying to find foods with more or less of a specific nutrient and will show you which nutrients the food provides.
What about foods that aren’t labeled? No worries! In most cases, foods that aren’t labeled only contain one ingredient – the food itself! When choosing packaged food, however, it pays to read the label. Take control of your eating and know what you’re buying. It’ll help you to make informed choices, allow you to eat healthier, and lead you to choosing higher quality products. And, you’ll enjoy your food more!
Do you read labels?