How to Read Nutrition Labels Correctly

In case you’re trying to eat healthy, learning to read nutrition labels correctly is the first step. Everyone has a different reason as to why they read nutrition labels, but one reason they all have in common is to avoid any unhealthy additives. Sometimes it can be tiring to scan carefully through every product you buy. However, once you learn how to quickly scan through the nutrition label you’ll be able to shop fast, eat right and achieve your weight loss goals if that’s what you’ve been looking for. The nutrition facts label changes with time. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has updated the food labeling guidelines which are to take effect by January 1, 2021.

The new guidelines include larger text for “Calories,” “Serving size,” and “Serving per container.” Currently, nutrition labels have these main parts. Calories and 13 nutrients: Cholesterol, sodium, sugars, protein, fat, saturated fat, trans fat, carbohydrates, fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron. So, how do you correctly go through the nutrition label?

Check Total Calories

You need to be keen about the number of calories per serving and how many calories you will be taking in if you eat the whole package. Serving size and calories go hand in hand. By doubling the serving size you eat, you’re also doubling the calories and nutrients.

It’s important to note that whatever eating plan you choose, calories matter. Eating quality calories can help to manage your weight but you should eat the right number of calories each day. Compare different brands and products when shopping to make the best choice.

Limit Certain Nutrients

Healthy fats form part of a healthy diet which can keep you satisfied throughout the day just by eating the right portion. You should be more mindful of the fats since they are high in calories compared to protein and carbohydrates. When reading the nutrition label, first check for the total number of fat grams (red arrows) in the food and then check below for (yellow arrows) for further information. Also, check for the amount of sugar. Total sugar can include both natural and added sugar hence you should limit on added sugar. Additionally, limit on sodium, saturated fat and avoid trans-fat. When buying a product, compare different brand or similar products and choose the product with less of the mentioned nutrients.

Go for Products with Beneficial Nutrients

These nutrients include proteins, carbohydrates, dietary fiber, calcium, iron, potassium, and vitamins. For carbs, you should choose better sources and work with numbers listed on the nutritional labels. Healthy carbs mean those that are unrefined with enough dietary fiber. Go for food that contains whole grains and vegetables like spinach which happens to be a good food choice. When buying proteins, choose food that contains a good amount of protein which is essential for muscle mass. However, avoid processed meats and choose lean meat and low-fat dairy products instead. Also, although you’re told to buy food with a good amount of proteins, scan through the nutrition label to ensure that fat grams aren’t too high. Even worse, most protein-rich foods are high in saturated fat and some bakery foods contain unhealthy trans fats.

Therefore, you need to carefully check on the label for the number of fats on your protein product.

Check On the Percent Daily Value

Percent daily value summarizes the percentage of each nutrient per serving in terms of the daily recommended amount. The percentage range from five which means you consume less of a certain nutrient to as high as 20 percent meaning you eat more of a particular nutrient. Take, for example, if you want food low in saturated fat or sodium, choose food with five percent daily value. Alternatively, if you want food rich in nutrients such as fiber, then go for food with 20 percent daily value. Regardless whether you’re in a hurry, it’s important you read the nutrition label to ensure you’re making healthy choices.

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