Food Labels Explained
Understanding nutrition facts on food labels is essential to making healthier food choices. Now's the time to start changing the way you look at food, and it begins with the food label.
Nutrition facts on food labels can be quite complicated to decipher. How many grams of fat are acceptable per serving? What does percent daily value mean? Is serving size important? What does "a good source of fiber" actually mean? It's time to get those questions and more answered with this guide to understanding nutrition facts on food labels.
Serving size and calories
The first thing you want to look at is the serving size, servings per container and calories per serving. This is extremely important in preventing yourself from overeating. If you know you eat a whole bag of potato chips in one sitting, and you see that one bag has well over 1,000 calories, it'll make you think twice about purchasing them.
From the FDA, here's a general guide to calories:
The average person needs between 1,600 and 2,400 calories per day. Yours may be higher or lower depending on your weight and exercise level. All three meals should be weighted the same, as should your snacks. For example, if you eat 2,000 calories per day, you should be having roughly 600 calories for each meal and two 100-calories snacks. Or, simply eat six small meals per day each consisting of the same number of calories.
What to limit and what to load up on
Here is what to limit:
And here's what you should be loading up on:
Finally, take a quick look at the ingredients the food contains. Do your best to avoid high fructose corn syrup (a fancy word for sugar), hydrogenated and refined oils, MSG and artificial sweeteners and dyes. None of these ingredients are healthy or natural and will cause more harm than good to your body.
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