How To Read Nutritional FactsFebruary 28, 2017
If you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle this new year, reading nutritional facts on your foods can help you make healthier choices.
Being more aware of what you are putting in your body can aid you from over-consuming. Not being aware of what you are consuming can lead to increased caloric intake.
I haven’t always been consistent with reading nutritional labels in the past. However, I am more determined to keep up a healthy diet this year.
Here are some key elements to look for when reading nutrition facts:
At the top of the nutritional facts, you will see the serving size and total number of servings per container or package. These serving sizes are standardized in order to make it easier to compare similar foods. The nutritional contents and calories are based on single servings.
Total Calories Per Serving
Calories are a measurement of how much energy obtained from food. The number seen is the amount of calories you are consuming per serving. So, if you eat double the single-serving size, then you should double the calories to determine how much you are ingesting. The calorie section is an important factor to look at when trying to manage your weight whether you are trying to gain, lose, or maintain weight.
Based on a 2000-calorie diet, a guideline was developed to reference a low, moderate, and high calorie amount.
- 40 calories = low
- 100 calories = moderate
- >400 calories = high.
Nutrients to Limit
Nutrients are important in our diet because they impact our health. The items to limit from our diet includes fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, and sodium.
Too much of these nutrients have been linked to increase in heart diseases, chronic diseases, and blood pressure.
Nutrients to Maximize
Good nutrients that should be increased in our diet include fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron.
Eating enough of these nutrients can improve your health by reducing the risk of certain diseases and conditions. This can include decrease osteoporosis (calcium), improve bowel function (fiber), and boost immune system (vitamin C).
Percent Daily Value
% Daily Value (DV) indicates the percentage of each nutrient in a single serving in terms of the daily recommended amount.
This is based on a 2,000 calorie diet, however, the %DV can be higher or lower depending on one’s calorie needs. If you are looking to consume less of a nutrient, then choose foods with a lower DV (<5 %). If you want more of a certain nutrient, then eat more foods with a higher DV (>20%).
You do not have to give up any of your favorite foods if they have high %DV in fat. You can balance it out by eating foods that are low in fat later in the day.
As long as you keep your total % of Daily Value in fat less than 100%, you are safe.
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