Be sure to check your facts – your nutrition facts that is– by looking at food labels. Reading nutrition labels is a valuable strategy to ensure that you are making healthy food choices and eating proper portion sizes to help you manage your weight.
TIPS FOR READING A FOOD LABEL – PLEASE SEE LABEL BELOW
· Look at the serving size (the amount for one serving) and the number of servings per package.
· Compare your portion size to the actual serving size. In this case, if you ate the entire package, you would have consumed 2 servings (or 2 cups) and 500 calories.
CALORIES AND CALORIES FROM FAT
· Look at how many calories are in a single serving and the number of calories from fat. If you are trying to lose weight, cut back on calories and fat.
· If you ate one serving, you would have consumed 250 total calories and 110 of those calories come from fat. That means almost half of the calories in a single serving come from fat.
PERCENT DAILY VALUES
· Percent Daily Values (DV) are an average level of nutrients for a person who eats 2,000 calories per day. You may require less or more than 2,000 calories per day depending on your individual daily caloric needs.
· A food item with a 5% DV or lower is considered a low fat food. A food item with a 20% DV or more is a high fat food
· If you ate one serving, you would have consumed 12 grams of total fat representing an 18% DV, which is below 20% – but close to being considered a high fat food.
· If you ate the entire package you would need to double the grams of fat and % DV. That means you ate 24 grams of total fat with a 36% DV (food is now considered high fat since 36% is higher than 20%.)
FOODS TO LIMIT
· The nutrients in yellow - saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol and sodium - are ones that Americans generally eat too much of and should try to limit or reduce.
FOODS TO CHOOSE
· The nutrients in green – fiber, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium and iron – are ones that most Americans generally don’t eat enough of each day.
· Women should aim to consume 25 grams per day of fiber and men should get 38 grams per day.
Source: US Food and Drug Administration