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How to Read Nutrition Labels

The Nutrition Facts Label is an important part of packaged food and beverages. It provides a detailed nutritional value of a food product for consumers.

Knowing how to read a food label is crucial in planning your healthy and balanced diet. It is a must especially if you have serious illnesses like hypertension, diabetes or cardiovascular disease. The ability to discern the nutritional value of a food product helps you determine whether it’s good for your health or not.

Here are some tips on how to read nutrition labels when picking any food products from the shelf.

Serving size matters

The first thing to take note is the serving size of the product. The number of calories listed on the nutrition label pertains to the number of calories that are present in one serving of the food product. Sometimes, one pack is composed of three servings, so the whole pack contains thrice the number of calories that are listed on the nutrition label per serving.

Look at the calories

The number of calories is equivalent to the energy that you will receive in a serving.

Look at the Percent Daily Value (% Daily Value)

This serves as a guide for the nutrients that are present in one serving per food package. For example, if the label says 10% for sodium, it means that one serving of the product can provide 15% of your daily sodium needs. The percent daily values are usually based on a 2,000 calorie diet for healthy adults.

Check for the individual nutrients

Nutrients like Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Iron, and Calcium are needed by the body. These vitamins and minerals are essential in the normal function for the body. For example, Iron ensures that there is enough production of red blood cells. Additionally, Calcium is responsible for keeping you away from developing brittle bones.

Not all nutrients offer benefits

Not all vitamins and minerals included in the food do good for your health. Some nutrients are not beneficial when taken in large amounts. These include fat, saturated fat, trans fat, sodium, and cholesterol.

While it is easy to ignore the Nutrition Facts Label, this part of the food packaging contains essential information that can help you keep your body healthy.

A good eating habit is one where you know the benefits offered by the food you consumed. The Nutrition Facts Label offers a big help in developing that habit.

 

References:

How to Read a Nutrition Label. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/how-read-nutrition-label. Published in 2019. Accessed June 10, 2019.

The Basics of the Nutrition Facts Label. Eatright.org. https://www.eatright.org/food/nutrition/nutrition-facts-and-food-labels/the-basics-of-the-nutrition-facts-label. Published 2019. Accessed June 10, 2019.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2019). How to Understand and Use the Nutrition Facts Label. [online] Available at https://www.fda.gov/food/nutrition-education-resources-and-materials/how-understand-and-use-nutrition-facts-label [Accessed 10 Jun. 2019].

 

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-Medical Observer

 

 

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