When trying to compare what foods you should be eating for a healthy diet, it is important to read the nutrition labels printed on the food item. It can be challenging trying to decipher all of the information. Here are a few tips on understanding some of the information you are looking at:
Serving Size: This is one of the first areas that you see on the nutrition facts label. This area shows you how much of the food or beverage item goes along with the calories and nutritional information that is shown on the label. Sometimes there is more than one serving that is in a package, so it is important to take notice of that!
Calories vs. Calories from Fat: The total calories per serving size are shown next to the calories on the label. Usually there is also an area that shows the amount of calories from fat. The calories from fat are just part of the number of calories, not additional calories. From this information you can tell how many grams of fat are in the food item because each gram of fat provides 9 calories.
Different Kinds of Fat: Total fat is the first kind of fat you see on the label. This is the overall amount of fats – bad and good in a serving size of the food item. Then there is saturated fat and trans fat. These are two types of fat that are not good for you and you want to consume as little as possible of. Sometimes you will also see monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats listed. These are good fats that you want to incorporate more of in your diet!
Tips When Reading Nutrition Labels:
-Compare the foods so that you can see what provides you with the best nutrition possible!
-Try to pick foods that are low in saturated fat, trans fat, sugar, sodium, and cholesterol.
-When looking at the ingredient list, the first ingredient listed is the food product used the most and it decreases as the ingredients continue.
For more information on how to understand nutrition labels visit http://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/NFLPM/ucm274593.htm.
By Amber Jones
Photo Source: thebeavers.net