How to read Nutrition Lables on food products
Our clues to good health are in the food labels. Let’s make a wise choice of food from the info derived from reading the nutritional contents of food label. Good health begins here. Say bye to dangerous and unwanted foods right when we purchase. It’s been said a zillion times Prevention is better than cure.
10 Seconds for a healthy food, a one time activity:
Take those extra seconds to glance through the Food Nutrition Labels. It’s important than never before. Food manufactures use all tools to trick us to sell the product. The whole untold story is embedded in the fine print of the nutrition labels safely and cleverly cornered in food packages. Men and Women spend a lot of time in News reading and watching News Channels, sometimes we even read the same news in multiple prints (in newspaper, TV Channels , Websites ) which means we surely have the extra second or two to go over the food labels and make a choice of what we want.
In fact once you are sure this particular product is safe you don’t have to repeat the process again. So it’s a onetime activity.
Why do I need to take the pain of reading food labels:
Because we purchase food items based on what we see in TV commercials and the nice packaging of the food product. The enemy is hiding behind the cover of food packagings. Food authorities really don’t guarantee for the safety of food. It’s a complex subject. Ingredients which are safe for someone are allergic to others. So the moral responsibility lies with us. What we feed our kids and family.
Decoding the simple Nutrition Label:
Start with the “Serving Size”. At the top of the label you will see the serving size and the number of servings per container (package). Serving size may differ from the actual intake you have. If for a single serve you take double the mentioned servings size then double all the number in the nutrition label.
Tally up the Calories and Calories from Fat:
This is for the weight watchers. Total the number of calories in each serving of the food and those which are derived from the fat. Calorie numbers give us an indication of how much energy we get from consuming the food. If you double the servings then double your calorie count.
Red zone (Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium) – Limit these nutrients:
Fat a multibillion dollar Industry, world economics revolves around Fat. Seriously, if enough education is done about good and bad fat, we don’t need the super speciality hospitals for cardiac care, the weight loss powders, machines etc.
The Total Fat includes the good (monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and omega-3 fats (usually from liquid and plant sources, such as canola oil and nuts) and bad fat (saturated and Trans fats (from animal or vegetable sources). Good fat helps lowering cholesterol and good for heart. Trans fat ("hydrogenated" and "partially hydrogenated" fats) is formed during the process of converting liquid oils into solid fats. Remember this is a BAD FAT. Avoid as much as possible.
Sodium is nothing but a table Salt. Look out for salt content. Depending on individuals health needs food has to be consumed.
Next is the Cholesterol. We have good Cholesterol (HDL) and bad Cholesterol (LDL). Check out the numbers per serving and consume according to your need.
Total Carbohydrates - Have more of it in this section except Sugar:
This part of the label gives the details about total number of carbohydrates you consume eating one serving of the food.
the indigestible portion of plant food is called fiber. Check out the value per serving of food.
Caution to be taken on this value because some carbohydrates converts into sugar so the actual intake of sugar may be more than what is labelled per serving of the food.
the value against this tells us about the amount of protein we consume per serving of this food.
The Vitamins and Minerals:
this portion of the label explains all the vitamins and minerals available per serving.
Quick guide to % Daily Value (DV):
Based on a 2,000 calorie daily diet which is the usual baseline, % Daily Value tells you the percent of each nutrient in a single serving. If you are conscious about a certain nutrient then choose food per servings which are 5% DV or less. If you want more of any of the nutrients then you have to look out for DV value 20% or more.