Reading Nutrition Facts

Reading nutrition facts can help you make wise food choices and not relying on phrases like "low fat" or "fat free" or "healthy"

Start with the serving size. Serving sizes differ on each food label and may not the same as your serving size, which usually leads to misleading.If a package of cookies contains six cookies and a serving size is equal to two cookies, that means the entire package contains three servings, not one.

In the calories and calories from fat sections tell you the total number of calories in each serving of the food and the number of those calories which are derived from fat. Calories provide a measure of how much energy you get from eating one serving of the food. If you are trying to manage (lose, gain or maintain) your weight, the number of calories you consume counts. For example, one serving of macaroni and cheese may provide 250 calories, with 110 calories from fat. If you ate 2 servings, you would consume 500 calories and 220 of those calories would be from fat.

Now, look out for sodium content. High sodium diet will lead you to high blood pressure. This sodium is usually hidden in processed food.

Identify the total carbohydrates, this number will tell you how many carbohydrates you consume in a package.
Be vigilant about the amount of "Sugar". This is the amount of sugar you consume if you consume one serving of the food. Some carbohydrates become sugar when digested in your body, so you may be consuming more sugar than what is on the label.

See the "Percent Daily Value". The asterisk (*) after this heading refers to the information at the bottom of the label, which states “% daily values (DVs) are based on a 2,000-calorie diet”.

Finally, don't forget to look at the "Information at the Bottom of the Label".This chart is based on a 2,000-calorie diet. This information must be on all food labels, although the chart that follows is not required on small packages if the label is too small. However, the information is dietary advice from public health experts for all Americans and is the same for all products. This is applicable also in many other countries, following dietary advice provided by individual an country's food advisory experts. It shows the upper and lower limits for each nutrient based on a 2,000-calorie diet. Let's use the macaroni and cheese example. One serving would provide 18% of the Daily Value of the possible 100% Daily Value for your total fat intake. That leaves 82% that you could consume from other sources for that day. If you ate two servings, you would consume 36% of your DV for fat, leaving 64% to be consumed from other sources.

Happy reading nutrition facts :)

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