Sunday, March 6, 2016

Savor The Flavor Tip #6 - Learn to Read a Food Label

Food labels can tell us a lot about the food we are eating.  Important numbers to know are the serving size and calories per serving.  All amounts of the nutrients are accurate only if you eat the exact serving size.  In this example 6 crackers are 120 calories, so 12 crackers would be 240 calories.  If you are a diabetic you will need to know the total carbohydrates in a food.  In this example there are 19 grams for 6 crackers.  If you need to loose weight you would be concerned with the total fat.  6 crackers has 4.5 grams of fat.  If you have high blood pressure you would be concerned with the sodium and saturated fat.

The column on the right is the % of the daily value of the particular nutrient is in 1 serving of the food.  It is based on a 2000 calorie diet.  If you are on a lower calorie diet, the value of each nutrient would be higher.  The percentage can give us clues if a food would make a healthy snack or not. 
5% DV or less is low for all nutrients, those you want to limit (e.g., fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium), or for those that you want to consume in greater amounts (fiber, calcium, etc).   20% DV or more is high for all nutrients.  A healthy food would have a daily value lower than 20% for fat and sodium.

If you do not have a label, for example for a piece of produce, you can use the computer program Nutridata to look up that information.

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