The Ultimate Way Of Reading Nutrition Labels

The Ultimate Way Of Reading Nutrition Labels
Source – NDTV.com

The Nutrition Facts panel, which was initially presented in 1993, is updated on a regular basis. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the United States amended food labelling requirements in 2016, with revisions due to take effect on January 1, 2020, for certain larger food producers and January 1, 2021, for smaller food manufacturers.


 Medically reviewed by Dr K on 24th May 2022.

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  1. Serving Size
  2. Calories
  3. Fat And Cholesterol
  4. Carbohydrates
  5. Protein
  6. Vitamins And Minerals
  7. Percent Daily Value

The Ultimate Way Of Reading Nutrition Labels

If you’re aiming to eat healthier, the nutrition label is an essential tool for making smarter food choices. When you can rapidly read the Nutrition Facts label for important information, you’ll be able to shop quicker, eat healthier, and, if weight loss is your aim, lose weight more easily.

The Nutrition Facts panel, which was initially presented in 1993, is updated on a regular basis. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the United States amended food labelling requirements in 2016, with revisions due to take effect on January 1, 2020, for certain larger food producers and January 1, 2021, for smaller food manufacturers.

The bigger lettering for “Calories," “Serving size," and “Servings per container" is included in the new design. These modifications will assist you in locating the most crucial facts for weight reduction and good eating.

The graphics in this tutorial show an earlier version of the Nutrition Facts label on the left and a newer one on the right, so you’ll know how to read it no matter which version you encounter on a box.

Source - Daisybeet

Serving Size

Portion control and calorie tracking are important for weight management. It’s important to verify the serving size on the nutrition label to ensure that you eat suitable quantities and precisely tally the number of calories you consume each day.

Control Portions: The serving size shown on the packaging is not always the quantity of food you should eat, but rather the amount of food that an average individual eats during a single meal occasion. Instead of relying on this figure to determine how much to consume, use it to calculate the number of calories in a normal serving of that item.

Accurately Log Food: To count calories and control your diet, you’ll input meals and food quantities into your daily food diary if you use a calorie-tracking app. The majority of these services set the default quantity to “serving size." If your portion size differs from the serving size mentioned, be sure to adjust the quantity.

Calories

No matter what sort of food plan you follow, calories always matter. Of course, consuming quality calories (nutritious meals) will make it simpler to control your weight. However, it is also essential to consume the appropriate amount of calories each day. 

The calorie count on the nutrition information panel indicates the number of calories in a normal serving size. It might be beneficial to compare various brands and goods at the grocery shop in order to pick the best option for you. 

Fat and Cholesterol 

Eating healthy fat is important for a healthy body and will keep you full throughout the day. However, since fat contains more calories than protein and carbs, it is important to keep track of how much you ingest.

When reading the nutrition label, start by looking at the total amount of fat grammes (red arrows) in the meal. Then, for further information, look at the numbers below (yellow arrows).

  • Saturated fat: While saturated fat may not be as detrimental for our bodies as previously assumed, most experts still suggest that you consume less saturated fat and more polyunsaturated fat or monounsaturated fat for optimal health.
  • Trans fats: Experts believe that trans fats are bad for your health. Choose foods that contain as little trans fat as feasible. Trans fat is found in several dairy and bread products.
  • Cholesterol: You may have been advised by your doctor to limit your dietary cholesterol consumption. If that’s the case, this number is critical for you. And, although eating eggs and other types of dietary cholesterol is permissible, most doctors believe that keeping a close check on your consumption is necessary.

Carbohydrates

Whether you track carbs or not, selecting healthier carbohydrate sources is vital for your health. The Nutrition Facts label’s “Carbohydrates" section gives some information to help you make better choices.

  • Dietary fibre: Fibre is your ally. If you consume more dietary fibre, you will feel fuller for longer. Packaged goods containing whole grains or vegetables are often high in dietary fibre. Some foods also include fibre.
  • Total sugars: The revised Nutrition Facts panel breaks out the quantity of added sugar under the “Total Sugar" category, making it simpler to comprehend your sugar consumption. Foods with extra added sugars give empty calories that add to your daily consumption while providing little nourishment.

Protein

Protein is a key macronutrient for muscle mass maintenance. When shopping, look for foods with high protein content on Nutrition Facts labels. Lean meat and low-fat dairy products are two excellent examples.

However, while looking at the nutrition label for protein, look at the fat grammes to make sure the figure isn’t too high. Many protein-rich meals are also heavy in saturated fat, and certain dairy products include unhealthy trans fat.

Vitamins And Minerals

The Nutrition Facts panel also highlights various vitamins and minerals found in the product. Sodium, or table salt, is one nutrient that gets its own bolded line on the label because too much can be harmful to your health.

Most experts recommend that healthy adults limit their sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams per day. If you have a specific health condition, such as high blood pressure or kidney disease, consult your doctor or nutritionist to determine the right amount of sodium for you.

Other micronutrients, like vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium and iron, are listed below the thick black bar on the Nutrition Facts label. Choosing a variety of foods that provide vitamins and minerals will help you build a strong, fit, healthy body.

Percent Daily Value

The column on the right side of the nutrition label has numbers displayed in percentages. The numbers listed under “% Daily Value" tell you how much a particular nutrient contributes to your total daily diet if you consume 2,000 calories per day.

If you consume more or less than 2,000 calories per day, these figures will not be accurate for you. But they are still useful in making healthy food choices.

Overall, the percent daily value can quickly help you gauge whether or not a food is high or low in a particular nutrient. Generally, a percent daily value of 5% or less means that the food is low in that nutrient and a value of 20% or more means that the food is high in the nutrient.

Sources

  1. https://www.verywellfit.com/read-nutrition-labels-for-weight-loss-4065403
  2. Ni Mhurchu C, Eyles H, Jiang Y, Blakely T. Do nutrition labels influence healthier food choices? Analysis of label viewing behaviour and subsequent food purchases in a labelling intervention trial. Appetite. 2018;121:360-365. doi:10.1016/j.appet.2017.11.105
  3. American Heart Association. Saturated fat.
  4. Malik VS, Willett WC, Hu FB. The revised Nutrition Facts Label: A step forward and more room for improvement. JAMA. 2016;316(6):583-4. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.8005

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