I’m a big fan of Nutritional Facts labels. Any time I am cooking something or going out to eat, I like to see how many calories I am going to be eating, and make adjustments if needed. That doesn’t mean that I may not eat something higher in calories, but at least I know that before I start eating.
While calories are important, there are other nutritional factors that you should pay attention to. It’s up to you to take control of your own health.
Here are some tips and tricks for reading Nutritional Facts labels:
It can be confusing to distinguish between serving size, servings per container, and portion size. All the information provided on the Nutritional Facts label is based upon the serving size listed.
Servings Per Container
This is the total servings in the container.
You won’t find portion size on the Nutritional Facts label. The portion size is different for each person and is based on your unique health goals, and if you have a medical condition that may require different portion sizes.
Grams of Fiber
Fiber needs vary with age. According to the National Academy of Sciences, if you are a woman over 50 years of age, you need 21 grams of fiber each day. Women under 50 need 25 grams.
Pay attention to the grams of fiber per serving on a Nutritional Facts label. Try to eat foods with at least 5 grams per serving.
These percentages are calculated on the basis that a person eats a standard 2,000 calories per day.
Before determining how much sugar you should be eating, let’s first talk about the difference between total sugars and added sugars.
The total amount of sugars refers to sugars that are naturally contained in a product. Good examples of this are sugars in fruit and milk.
Added sugars refers to sugars that were added during processing.
Here are examples of added sugars:
• High Fructose Corn Syrup
• Table Syrup
• Maple Syrup
• Concentrated fruit or vegetable juice
• Brown Rice Syrup
The American Heart Association recommends that women limit sugars to six teaspoons a day. That totals out to about 100 calories. Wow, based on that, most women may be eating too much sugar.
Pay attention to the Nutritional Facts labels when you do your grocery shopping. You’ll find that you can eat many of your favorite foods with a few tweaks here and there.