How to Conquer the Nutrition Label and Your Diet
No Strings Attached to Decoding the Food Label
Eating right can begin with decoding the nutrition label. Most food choices should include low calories and high vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrient content. We all understand these choices provide a gateway to a healthier physically active life. Kitchology’s Eat.better app also helps us stick with our special diet. But, labels themselves are not so readily comprehensible. That’s why today’s infographic (huge shout out to Fix.com Blog) is such an important first step to getting it right the first time you read it.
Serving sizes matters. I view it as my building block to determine how I’m going to construct my diet. For example, a bag of potato chips lists a serving size as 1 oz, 28 grams, or approximately 15 chips. Are you able to eat just 15 chips? It’s possible that bag has eight 1-ounce servings. In that case, the math is not pretty.
Calorie Count and % Daily Value (%DV)
Calories count up. That one serving is an exact number of calories. If you eat a little more than one ounce, be sure to add the extra calories. Also know, eating more calories means it takes longer to burn them to avoid gaining weight. Here’s another way to weigh it:
The % Daily Value (%DV) is a number. It reflects the percentage of a nutrient found in a single serving based on a 2,000-calorie diet. This number helps determine the relative nutritional value of a food. If you’re following a special diet or limiting calories you may need to adjust these numbers accordingly.
Just the Fats:
Three fats combined determine total fat. The types are unsaturated fat, saturated fat, and trans fat. Unsaturated fat is a “heart-healthy” fat. Foods that contain this type of fat include avocados, nuts, eggs, fish, and vegetable oils. Saturated fat is often found in meat and dairy. Trans fat is not a good fat. Avoid it at all costs. This man-made fat is found in most processed foods due to its ability to extend shelf life. Common products containing trans fats include baked goods, potato chips, fried food, creamers and margarine.
Sodium, Carbohydrates and Protein and more:
Most adults should limit sodium consumption to 1500 mg daily. It does help with muscle contractions, nerve transmissions, hydration, and maintaining pH balance. However if you are monitoring your sodium pay close attention.
Total carbohydrates includes both fiber and sugar. Subtracting grams of fiber from total carbohydrates gives you total grams of sugar per serving. Grams of sugar breaks down into natural and added sugar. These are common words used in place of sugar: sucrose, fructose, glucose, maltose, dextrose, high-fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, concentrated fruit juice, honey, fruit nectar, sugar cane juice, beet sugar, and golden syrup.
Protein is found in nuts, legumes, seeds, tofu, dairy, chicken, and fish. The amount of protein needed in a diet varies from person to person. As a general guide, between 0.5 and 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight, per day.
Last of note are vitamins and minerals. Vitamins listed are only A and C. Minerals include calcium and iron. Products claiming they are high in a vitamin or mineral are required by law to include that information on the label.
Change is coming and that is a good thing…
New changes are coming to nutrition labeling in the U.S. by July 26, 2018. They will include the following:
More Prominent Calorie Counts and Serving Sizes
The number of calories, servings, and serving sizes are all required to be in larger.
Realistic Serving Sizes
% DV of Added Sugar
Inclusion of Vitamin D and Potassium, Eliminating A and C:
Hope this information helps demystify the nutrition #label to help you make more informed decisions about your product choices. What are your tricks to decoding? Share your secrets at @Kitchology @Kitchenchick123.