I can remember a time when I was having issues understanding what I was buying and if it was healthy for my family. when I turned the box around to read the label I didn’t know what I was looking at or for. Do you feel this way? are you confused? I am here to help you. I know that taking care of your family and yourself is important. I want you to have the knowledge to make these choices. Reading a label is a necessity and it shouldn’t be a puzzle but some food companies like to trick you. and your health is not a game. Let’s break it into sections.
How to decipher a nutrition label
- Start with the Serving Size. … A lot of people miss this and there could be more than one serving in a very small package. Did you know that 1 package of Ramon noodles has 2 servings? Who only eats a ½ a package
- Step 2: Check Out the Total Calories. …and remember that is a per serving amount In the example, there are 250 calories in one serving of this macaroni and cheese. How many calories from fat are there in ONE serving? Answer: 110 calories, which means almost half the calories in a single serving come from fat. What if you ate the whole package content? Then, you would consume two servings or 500 calories, and 220 would come from fat..
- Step 3: Let the Percent Daily Values Be Your Guide. …
The number on the right reflects what percentage of a nutrient is found in a single serving. The percentage is based on a 2,000-calorie diet. This number is meant to help you get an idea of how nutritional the food is. If your food has a % DV less than 5 percent, it is considered low in nutrients; if it is above 20 percent, it is high in nutrients.
The number on the left is how much this item has.
Pay close attention to the fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, or sodium
The section in yellow should be limited because of a higher risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, some cancers, or high blood pressure.
4. The section in blue is meant for you to be sure you are getting enough of these nutrients like Eating enough of these nutrients can improve your health and help reduce the risk of some diseases and conditions.
For example, getting enough calcium may reduce the risk of osteoporosis, a condition that results in brittle bones as one age. Eating a diet high in dietary fiber promotes healthy bowel function. Additionally, a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and grain products that contain dietary fiber, particularly soluble fiber, and low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease.
5. The footnote.
The* used after the heading “%Daily Value” on the Nutrition Facts label. It refers to the Footnote in the lower part of the nutrition label, which tells you “%DVs are based on a 2,000 calorie diet“. This statement must be on all food labels. But the remaining information in the full footnote may not be on the package if the size of the label is too small. When the full footnote does appear, it will always be the same. It doesn’t change from product to product, because it shows recommended dietary advice for all Americans–it is not about a specific food product.
Look at the amounts circled in red in the footnote–these are the Daily Values (DV) for each nutrient listed and are based on public health experts’ advice. DVs are recommended levels of intakes. DVs in the footnote are based on a 2,000 or 2,500 calorie diet. Note how the DVs for some nutrients change, while others (for cholesterol and sodium) remain the same for both calorie amounts.
Now; lets look at the ingredients portion of a label.
Read the Fine Print and look for tricks
Many manufacturers use all capital letters that studies show are more difficult to read than [a combination of] upper and lower case letters… some companies print the list in various colors of ink against poorly-contrasting backgrounds or insert the ingredient list in a fold or other area where it will not be visible unless the consumer makes an extra effort to reveal the list.”
Product ingredients are listed by quantity — from highest to lowest amount. This means that the first ingredient is what the manufacturer used the most of.
A good rule of thumb is to scan the first three ingredients, as they make up the largest part of what you’re eating.
If the first ingredients include refined grains, a type of sugar, or hydrogenated oils, you can assume that the product is unhealthy. But also read the rest of the ingredients to be sure they are not adding chemicals to your food that is unhealthy, Remember even small amounts of crap is still crap. If you can’t pronounce it or identify it you should not be eating it.