How To Understand Nutrition Label

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How To Understand Nutrition Label


The nutrition label – before  deciding on the food items to buy do take a look at it. Most packaged food wrappers have a black and white ‘nutrition label’ for you to know what you are buying. A large pack will have a detailed label while a small pack will contain just about enough information to help you take a decision.

As aware consumers it is important to understand this label and only go for those products which are good for health. Not all items listed down may be within recommended levels and hence it becomes important to be well informed and make a healthy choice for yourself and our family.

A very common nutrition label will list the following, depending upon the product:

1. Servings
2. Calories -Total fat, Saturated fat, Trans fat
3. Cholesterol
4. Sodium
5. Total Carbohydrates – Dietary fiber, Sugar
6. Protein
7. Vitamins
8. Minerals

The first thing you should see are the number of servings each pack contains. The remaining items will list down the proportions as per each serving. So if a pack contains four servings and you consume half the pack you are actually having two servings and the nutritional content meant for two.

Second comes the calorie count. Keep a check on this. Too much of calories are linked to obesity and excess weight. According to the US food and Drug Administration (USFDA) 40 calories is low, 100 is moderate and 400 and above is high.

Next in line are fat, cholesterol, and sodium. Fat is further classified as saturated and trans fats. Heavy consumption of these leads to diseases of the heart, certain cancers, and blood pressure. Many a times you may come across labels that say low-fat but on examining the nutritional label you will find it to be high in sodium. This is equally harmful for your heart. Go for packs which are low in both fat and sodium.

Now come those items which you should be consuming for a healthy body – dietary fiber, vitamins, proteins, and minerals. These are ingredients much talked about these days. Dietary fiber induces bowel movements, protein is required for healthy muscles, vitamins and minerals help keep diseases at bay. Every meal should have an adequate amount of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and proteins.

The nutrition label has been made mandatory on all packaged food items to help you make a sensible choice and monitor your daily dietary requirements. Make optimum use of it and go for healthy alternatives. Being aware is the first step towards a healthy life.

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