Reading Labels

I get It reading food labels on any type of food or health food store Isn’t the most entertaining way you want to spend your Sunday (assuming that’s when you go food shopping?) In fact, you would think that If you read one, then you read them all. Quite often people will read a food label looking for just one measurement. This might be Calories, Carbohydrates, fiber to carb ratio or Fats. Either way, It Is important to learn how to read a food label as a whole so you can better understand what you are putting Into your body.

For me, I have to read food labels on EVERYTHING because I have food allergies and food sensitivities I have to make sure whatever I am buying doesn’t contain anything that I need to stay away from.

Food Labels

Food labels contain product-specific Information such as serving size, calories, and nutrient information. The Information can vary with each food product, so I have broken down a food label to help guide you through each section.

Serving Size

The first place when looking at food labels should be the serving size. I’m sure you know this but the serving size Is the amount of serving per that package. Truth moment: I’ve eaten a whole bag of chips, candy or oreos just to find out that I ate like 38 servings. Serving sizes are pretty standardized to make It easier to compare similar foods. All serving sizes are broken down by either cups or pieces, followed by the metric amount,  the number of grams.

The size of the serving on the food label will Influence the number of calories and nutrient listed on the top part of the label. When looking at the serving size you want to pay close attention to how many servings there are In the package.

Example: Serving Size 1 Cup~ Serving Per Container 2

This means that 1 serving Is equal to 1 cup. But wait, the label Informs us that there are 2 servings In a package. So If you ate the whole package, you would be doubling your servings.

I’m sure you know how easy It Is to think that you are eating something decently healthy when you consume the whole package. Little did you know that you ate twice the bad stuff that you were supposed to! (whatever you only live once.)

Calories/Fat Calories

What we do know Is that we do get some energy from calories. Calories help us know how much energy we are getting from a single serving of food. Many of us are consuming more calories than needed without getting the recommended healthy nutrients we need In a day (that Is how you become overweight). I want you to remember that the number of servings you are consuming Is the number of calories you are eating. 

Example:  There are 250 calories In one serving. Out of those 250 calories, 110 of them are nothing but fat, which means almost half the calories In a single serving come from fat. If you ate the whole package content? Then, you would consume two servings or 500 calories, and 220 would come from fat. DO NOT be afraid of the fat. Not all fat Is bad and It’s actually good to consume fat. Once your body stops getting Its energy (calories) from carbohydrates, It resorts to burning fat Instead. We all want to burn fat so don’t mistake calories as something that Is always a bad metric. It’s totally dependent on everything else that comes In the food.

Nutrients

Nutrients are separated Into two categories Nutrients you want to limit and the Nutrients you can’t get enough of.

Nutrients you can’t get enough of Label sections showing Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium, and Iron, with % daily values and quantity of dietary fiber. Most of us don’t get enough dietary fiber, vitamins, calcium, or iron. Getting enough of these nutrients can Improve your overall health. A “Diet” rich In fruits, vegetables, and dietary fiber are low In saturated fat and cholesterol and can reduce the risk of heart disease. Load up on these nutrients. I know they don’t do much In making food taste better, but at least they can help you live longer which gives you more opportunities to try more foods!

Daily Value

The Total Fat for a product Is 18% of the Daily Value. But does this 18% actually contribute to your fat limit of 100% DV? Well, 18%DV Is below 20%DV so It’s not too high, but what If you ate the whole package? Well, you would double the total fat amount putting you at 36% from just one food, leaving you with 64% of your fat allowance for the rest of the day.

Final Thoughts

When It comes to food we all have different requirements. Even though food labels are based on 2,000 calories “Diets”, If you are working out, you will need much more than that. Remember, these are just the daily recommended values for a normal human being and none of us are normal. To better understand nutrition labels you need to better understand what your goals are. If you are looking to build muscle then Protein Is something you would be focusing on in nutrition labels. If you solely want to burn fat and get lean, you might pay more attention to Sugar.

Understanding how to read nutrition labels makes It easy for you to make comparisons. You can compare one product or brand to a similar product. Just keep an eye on the serving size and make sure they are similar, especially the weight (e.g. gram, milligram, ounces) of each product. It’s easy to see which foods are higher or lower In nutrients and what would be a healthier choice for you.

Too often people get caught up on what the food packaging says on the front (Fat-Free and Gluten-Free) and don’t pay attention to the Important details on the back. Learning how to properly read nutrition labels and choosing the right foods goes a long way to achieving the body and lifestyle that you want. It just takes a couple extra minutes of your time and It will all pay off later.

Thank You!

I do hope you stick around as I put out different types of content  I try to post educational, Informative things that everyone can learn from. I am learning what people like to read and what people don’t. The one thing you will get from me Is honesty. If I post something It’s because I believe In It no matter If It’s a beauty review, recipe post, or just me posting a random post.

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One thought on “Reading Labels

  1. Thanks for sharing! I avidly read food labels too! One the things that I look for personally is the amount of protein and sugar. My rule of thumb is that the product should have more protein than sugar. I use this when buy yogurts, breads, and snacks. It really helps me put things in perspective.

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