On the back of every prepackaged food item you buy, you will notice a tiny label. It is usually located at the sides or the back of the package. It also will always follow a more or less similar format. This is because the law requires it to be available on food packagings.
Today, we will dive into the basics and how to read the labels properly.
Important tip: Nutrition Facts label is totally different from ingredients label.
Here is an example of a nutrition facts label:
As you can see, the law requires it to show the important and crucial nutritional information. We will split them up in 5 sections and explain each of them one by one.
This section shows the number of servings in the packaging or container. The serving sizes are standardized to make it comparable to other consumables. The unit is usually in grams or pieces. The serving sizes usually reflects the amount that is usually consumed by the user. However, it is not the recommended amount for you to consume.
Pay attention to the weight and the serving sizes, though, otherwise you might just be consuming much more than you think.
Being one of the most crucial pieces of information, it shows the amount of calories present in one serving. For example, if a package has 4 servings of bread and 100 calories for each, the total amount of calories in the package would be 400 calories. It is very important to get a rough knowledge of the calories you are consuming. This is because eating too many calories is linked to being overweight and obese. Vice versa, eating too little calories will lead to malnutrition and weight loss.
This section shows the macronutrients that the food product has. This part of the label contains key nutrients that can impact your health and physical looks. You can use the label to support your personal dietary needs – look for foods that contain more of the nutrients you want to get more of and less of the nutrients you may want to limit.
This section shows the micronutrients available in the food product. Micronutrients include both vitamins and minerals. Examples include iron, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C and so on. It is good to note the amount of micronutrients you consume every day for optimal health.
The % Daily Value (%DV) is that the percentage of the Daily Value for every nutrient in a serving of the food product. The Daily Values are reference amounts (expressed in grams, milligrams, or micrograms) of nutrients to consume or to not exceed on a daily basis.
The %DV shows what quantity a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a complete daily diet.
The %DV helps you establish if a serving of food is high or low in a nutrient.
It is important to learn and be aware of the food you consume. Eating unhealthy food often can lead to serious long term damage to health. Therefore, once you get a grasp of learning how to read Nutrition Facts labels, you should be able to easily determine whether you should eat it or not.
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