Reading Food Labels, Control What You Eat By What You Buy!
How To Read Food Labels - Have You Read a Good Label Lately?
We admit it: Reading food labels is a tedious task. But it’s also one of the most important steps you can take toward achieving a healthy, balanced diet.
Here’s a quick primer on what to look for as you scan the information on the multitude of bottles, bags, cans, and boxes that fill the typical household fridge or kitchen pantry.
Read Food Labels To Know:
1. Serving size: Check the serving size to make sure that it jibes with the portions you ordinarily eat. If it doesn’t, you’ll need to mentally adjust the other nutritional figures up or down to bring them in line with your dining practices.
2. Calories from fat: This tells you how many of the total per-serving calories come from fat. To calculate the percentage of fat in the product, take the calories from fat and divide by the calories per serving. Ideally, the result should be 3 percent (= .03) or less.
3. Total fat: Gives you the number of grams of fat (per serving) the product contains. One gram of fat, by the way, equals nine calories, and you want less than 25 percent to 30 percent of your daily caloric intake to come from fat sources.
When reading food labels, you should get into the habit of asking yourself this question: How close does this product, by itself, bring me to my daily limit for fat? You’ll find that some items can actually take you up to—and even beyond— half your daily quota in a single serving!
4. Saturated fat: This is a subset of the total fat number; the lower it is, the better. As we saw in our discussion of cooking oils, saturated fats are big-time heart stoppers, so you want to minimize them in your diet.
These are the main items to be wary of, though you should also keep an eye out for excessive amounts of sodium and sugar, too.
On the positive side, look for products that post high numbers in the “% Daily Value” column for dietary fiber, carbohydrates, protein, essential vitamins, and minerals like calcium and iron. In most cases, if the fat numbers are low, the nutrient numbers will be high. After all, the calories in the product have to come from somewhere!
Get Control Of Whatt You Eat By What You Buy
Get into the habit of reading food labels when you shop when you are dieting or not to really know the fat and calories you are adding to your daily diet and gain control of what you eat.