Why you should read Nutrition Facts Labels

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Do you check the nutrition fact labels on the food products you buy? Is price or brand the only deciding factor for you? Here is why it is important to read  nutrition fact labels and how it can benefit your health.

All packaged foods come with nutrition labels. These are meant to provide us with all the necessary information and help us understand what exactly are we eating. Understanding what is inside the food we eat helps us make healthier choices and informed decisions and improve our diet.

Provides Key Information

The nutrition label provides key information such as serving size, calories, total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, protein, carbohydrate and vitamin content. The label also contains a list of the ingredients. This information helps you stay on track with your daily targets. It also helps you avoid certain ingredients if you have a food intolerance or are following a diet that excludes certain components, such as dairy.

The nutritional information found on a food label is based on one serving of that food. That is one of the most common mistakes people make when reading food labels. A food label may indicate that a food has 100 calories and only 5 grams of sugar, for example. But if you look at the number of servings, it may state three. That means that if you were to eat the entire package, you would be getting three times the amount shown on the food label. In this example, 300 calories and 15 grams of sugar. Don’t be fooled, always look at what makes one serving (which the food label information is based on) and how many servings in that package!

 

Helps You Improve Your Diet

Despite a wide variety of available nutritious foods, many fail to eat recommended amounts of key nutrients. For example, it is recommended that you increase your intake of dietary fiber. Aim to get 25 grams of fiber if you are female and 38 grams if you are male. Checking food labels for the fiber content plays a role in helping you increase your intake. For instance, not all brown breads contain rich amounts of fiber, and some manufacturers use coloring to make bread look healthier, so it’s crucial to read the label.

 

Getting the Most Out of Food Labels

It’s crucial to determine your nutrition goals first, so that you can make the best use out of food labels. For example, if you’re overweight, comparing the calorie content of various options allows you to choose a low-calorie, nutritious item to stay within your daily calorie goals. The information on serving size is particularly important since the nutrient information listed on a label is often for more than one serving. Another example is if you have a chronic condition. For instance, if you have high blood pressure, it’s crucial to pay attention to the sodium content.

Stay away from products which include unhealthy fats like Trans Fats, Saturated Fats, partially hydrogenated oil or cholesterol. Instead choose products which contain good fats.

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