How to Read Nutrition Facts Listed on Food Labels

Coach Sapna on November 05, 2016

In this article, I will mention some important food and nutrition data facts from food labels and what they mean to improve your diet decisions.

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Food labels contain nutritional information that provides you information about the content and levels of nutrients in a particular food item. Thus, it helps you make a better and wiser food choice for a healthy diet.

Serving Size

The serving size is an important aspect to determine the nutritional level in one's food content. To attain the amount of nutrient mentioned on a nutrition facts label, you need to consume the exact amount of serving size mentioned adjacent to it.

Number of Servings

This aspect shows the number of servings you can cater to with the amount of food in the packet which equals the serving size.

Calories per Serving

This section informs you about the total number of calories you consume in each particular serving. This nutrition data is very important for those who have their diet planned according to a calorie deficit.

Calories from Fat

This nutritional information is for mentioning the amount of fat derived from the number calories you have consumed.

Total Fats

This aspect of nutrition facts label explains how much of the total fat is present in the product. Basically, the fats present are of two types:

  • Good Fats: Monounsaturated, Polyunsaturated and Omega 3
  • Bad Fats: Saturated and Trans Fats

Unsaturated Fats

These fats are good for the body as they keep heart diseases at bay. They also reduce the risk of cholesterol increase levels.

Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids

For appropriate tissue building, Polyunsaturated fatty acids are required for body functioning. They also prevent blood clotting and inflammation. There are sources like canola oil, flax seeds, walnuts and soybean oil that help getting such fatty acids in the body.

Saturated Fats

The reason why saturated fats are considered as ‘bad fats’, is because they increase cholesterol levels in the blood. Products like coconut oil, butter, cheese, and ghee have high saturated fats in them.

Trans Fats:

Trans fats are a cheap alternative substitute for butter. It increases cholesterol levels in the blood. These fats increase the longevity of a product and are mostly found in bread, chips, biscuits and some baked items.

Percent Daily Value

% DV’s (Percentage Daily Values) is the daily recommended value of key nutrients that are needed in a 2000 Calorie diet. The main purpose of a food label is to determine whether the food ingredient has high or low nutrient content in it. However, this value can be used in framing a reference for your daily diet, whether it has 2000 calorie diet plan or not.

Sodium

The nutrition facts label will mention sodium, which is the hidden ingredient in many processed foods like tomato sauce and soups. It is also known as table salt.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are an instant energy source for your body. They tend to spike up the sugar levels in the blood. It becomes crucial to limit its intake especially for those who have a medical condition like diabetes and/or those who want to lose some weight.

Cholesterol

Cholesterol helps the body make hormones. The liver makes the good kind of cholesterol, but cholesterol that is low in density, will wax up artilleries and ultimately lead to health problems.

Sugar

The nutrition facts label will mention the sugar content present in the food serving. However, this does not mention the sugar levels you consume from carbs.

Protein

The nutrition facts label will mention the protein content present when you consume one serving of the food.

A Summary

  • Make a plan of how much nutrients you will be consuming based on the number of servings
  • Pen out the number of calories and fat calories the product has
  • Learn the types of fat are used and how much is the protein content in it
  • Point out the good nutrients like calcium, low sodium, vitamins, and fibers

 

Click here to know more about the basics of nutrients

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Coach Sapna

PGDM from Kirloskar Institute Of Advanced Management Studies | PGDHRM from Symbiosis | Graduation in Microbiology (Hons) from Delhi University Marketing enthusiast by profession, with the love for interacting with consumers to understand their psychology towards any brand/product. Through my articles, I intend to help all those who are looking for inspiration and happiness in life.
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