Understanding Nutrition And Nutrition Labels:
I would love if everyone ate foods that didn’t have a government nutrition label. The best nutrition comes from nutrient dense whole foods. But I know that in today’s society this isn’t realistic for most people and packaged foods become a quick and easy option. So we need to pay attention and understand how to read nutrition labels to know if what we’re getting is really healthy or not because nutrition labels are not as easy to decipher as it used to be.
First, look at serving size. Portion control is important and you can review my video blog on portions sizes. You need to look at what nutrition labels says is one serving. Manufacturers change the serving size to make the product look the best. People are quick to look at the calories and make a decision. But this only works if you are eating the actual serving size. For example a standard 20 ounce soda is actually two servings, but most people drink it in one sitting.
Next, look at trans fats. No amount of trans fats is acceptable. But even if the label says zero, check the ingredients / it can be labeled zero and still have trans fats. Look for the words hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated. If those are in the ingredients list then it has trans fats.
Next, check the sugar content. Do some math here if you’re eating more than one serving to find out exactly how much you’re consuming. Shoot for less than 40 grams of sugar per day. But again, there can be some labeling tricks. Read the ingredients to identify any artificial sweeteners that will keep the sugar line low in the nutrition facts but still cause harm to the body.
Nutrition Labels Ingredient List:
So, the most important piece to pay attention to on the nutrition labels is the ingredient list. This is where we really find out what is in our foods. Ingredients are listed in order on the nutrition label from the greatest amount in the product, to the least. Usually, the fewer the ingredients, the better. If there’s a long list of words you can’t pronounce or don’t know what they are / leave that item on the shelf. Remember to check for hydrogenated fats and sweeteners. If you’re not sure about how to further identify these items, take a look at the video segments on each.
Your optimal health is found in nutrient dense whole foods, not on nutritional labels, but when you do choose a packaged food, make sure you’re choosing the best available.
For more information check out some of the related articles or watch my previous video on nutrition labels.
- Nutrition labeling law lowered nutrition, improved taste (medicalxpress.com)