New Year, New Way of Grocery Shopping: Understanding the Nutrition Facts Label
What is the Nutrition Facts Label?
The Nutrition Facts Label is a required label on food packages to inform the customer of calories, serving sizes, ingredients, nutrients and more. This is created as a tool for the customer to understand the nutritional value of the product.
Why is it Important to Understand the Nutrition Facts Label?
By understanding the Nutrition Facts Label, you are able to compare nutrients and calories of different brands and food items. It is important to seek products high in valuable nutrients and limit those that are less valuable.
1. Calories and Serving Size
2. Fats, Cholesterol and Sodium
3. Fiber, Sugars, Protein, Vitamins and Minerals
**Use these tips the next time you go grocery shopping!
3 Tips to Understand a Food Label
When you first pick up your desired product, check the Nutrition Label for the calories per serving size located at the top of the Nutrition Facts Label. A snack should be 200-300 calories and a meal should be 300-500 calories.
Next, we will look at the fats, cholesterol and sodium. We want to have zero trans fats and low saturated fats, cholesterol and sodium. The daily limit of sodium (or salt) is 2,300 mg. This is equal to about 450 mg per snack and meal.
Lastly, we analyze the fiber, sugars, protein, vitamins and minerals. Fiber is beneficial for our diet because it keeps us fuller, longer. An average of 5g of fiber for a snack or meal is optimal in order to accumulate 25g of fiber per day. Protein is the building block of our body to make muscles, tissues and nails. Protein also increases satiety in a meal. Be cautious when looking at the sugar content. For example, there is natural sugar in fruit, therefore we want to focus on limiting the amount of added sugar. The bottom section on the Nutrition Label consist of vitamins and minerals. Next to these are the percentage toward your total goal amount per day. We want these numbers to be high.
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