• Tanika

Understanding Food Label

Ever wonder what nutrients are in certain food products you buy? What does it mean and is it beneficial for your diet?

 

The Nutrition Facts will help guide you on the right path by providing detailed information on nutrient content to manage your health such as:
  • To understand specific calories based on serving sizes

  • To avoid certain nutrient content from your diets such as trans fat and sodium intake

  • To manage health conditions such as high cholesterol, blood pressure, and diabetes

 

Let's Take A Closer Look


1. Serving Size

is a standard amount of food, such as a cup, tablespoon, or ounce.


2. Calories

is related to the unit of energy you consume. 2,000 calories a day is considered in most cases but this can varies based on your age, sex, height, and weight. For example, if you consume one serving of food that contains 200 calories on a nutritional label, then having two servings would equal 400 calories.


3. Nutrients


Total Fat

This number indicates how much fat is in a single serving of food and it's usually measured in grams.


Saturated fat

is a type of dietary fat. In most cases, it is recommended to limit the amount of saturated fat as it can lead to certain health risks such as high cholesterol, heart disease, and stroke. These fats are most often solid at room temperature. Certain food with saturated fats is butter, coconut, cheese, and red meat.


Trans Fat

are a type of unsaturated fat. Food that contains trans fat are dairy products, beef, lamb, and can be found in certain fried food. If you are looking to maintain a healthy diet, it is important to reduce the amount of trans fat intake this can be done by replacing it with monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats.


Cholesterol

a waxy substance found in the blood and in all cells of the body. Your body needs cholesterol to build healthy cells, but high levels of cholesterol can increase your risk of heart disease. With high cholesterol, you can develop fatty deposits in your blood vessels.


Sodium

helps to regulate and control body fluid, and muscles, and moves nerves/signals. It also regulates blood pressure, this is why it is considered a health concern for nutrients. Reducing your sodium intake can help reduce the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, and osteoporosis.


Total Carbohydrates

tells how many grams of carbohydrates are in one serving. It plays a big part in controlling your blood sugar. It consists of nutrients such as dietary fiber, sugars, and starches.


Dietary Fiber

is the parts of plant foods your body can't digest or absorb. It helps lower cholesterol and regulates blood sugar levels, bowel movement, and weight management. Here are some food sources of fiber to consider beans, peas, and lentils. Fruits and vegetables are also beneficial fiber sources that provide certain vitamins and minerals for your body.


Protein

is a chain of amino acids. It is important to build body cells. It provides excellent sources of nutrients such as B vitamins, iron, vitamin E, and fiber. Some high protein foods are lean chicken, lean pork, fish, tofu, beans, lentils, low-fat yogurt, egg, milk, and nuts.


4. Beneficial Nutrients


Vitamin A

also known as retinol, helps maintain healthy cells and bone growth. It supports eye health. Excellent food sources to consider are spinach, carrots, tomatoes, mango, milk, beef liver, and fish oils.


Vitamin C

is a good source of nutrition for your health. It helps to maintain healthy skin, and bone and protects cells from free radicals. Excellent fruits and vegetable sources of nutrients include cantaloupe, broccoli, bell peppers, kale, and tomatoes


Calcium

is important for healthy bones, teeth, and muscle growth. Some excellent food sources of nutrients include greens (kale, collard, broccoli), tofu, nuts, soy milk, and yogurt.


Iron

is a mineral that maintains blood health. Here are some healthy foods sources of iron to consider for your diet would be apples, bananas, dried fruits, liver, spinach, quinoa, tofu, and legumes.


5. Percent Daily Values


is the percentage of the Daily Value for each nutrient in a serving of food. It shows the recommended daily intake of nutrients which is based on a 2,000-calorie diet. The general rule to remember is that 5% DV or less per serving is considered LOW. Whereas a 20% DV or more per serving is considered HIGH. For example, when you are looking to maintain your sodium intake, always look for food with less than 20% DV. In other circumstances such as looking to add more Dietary Fiber or iron to your diet then you would choose a higher %DV.



The Nutrition Label is a great resource to help maintain a healthy balanced diet. You can begin to make informed choices when buying food products. Start looking for those nutrients that are beneficial and take control of your dietary needs.

 

Read More: Healthy Fats