7 Vital Tips for Interpreting Nutrition Facts

How to Interpret Nutrition FactsWhen you go shopping, do you look for the nutrition facts on the black and white label, or do you rely on statements on the front of the package, such as “low cholesterol,” or “no sugar added?” The statements in bold coloring on the front are primarily for marketing purposes, and are designed to encourage you to purchase the product. The actual nutrition facts tell you how many grams of fat, protein, and carbohydrates are in each serving size. You can use these facts to measure out serving sizes for yourself and figure out how many calories you consume, as well as what those calories consist of. Here are seven vital tips to help you use the nutrition labels to become a savvier shopper:1) Use the nutrition labels as criteria for purchasing a product, rather waiting until you get home to see what you have.2) Look at the serving size before even looking at the other information (it’s usually at the top). This can help you decide if a product is right for you: for example, note in a typical bottle of Caesar salad dressing, a serving size is 1 oz., with 180 Calories per serving. This tells you that there are 180 calories in 2 tablespoons of dressing. Use serving size as well as the requirements of your own particular diet to determine portion size. If you double the portion size, you will double all the calories, carbohydrate content, fat content of a particular food.3) Compare different brands of similar items, as some brands may have better nutritional value than others.4) See how many serving sizes there are in the item you are purchasing. For example, some snack foods like potato chips or pretzels often show that there are more than one serving contained in the package, meaning that less than the whole package should be consumed at a time. If the nutrition facts on a bag of potato chips says, “Number of servings: 2,” this means that half of the bag is one serving size, and you are given the nutrition information for half of the bag. If you eat the whole package, you have to double all the numbers-the calories, fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates, and protein.5) Percent Daily Value is another important thing that Nutrition Facts tell you. They can be found on the right side of the Nutrition Facts panel and are printed in bold. Percent Daily Value is the amount of a nutrient that your body needs through food for the entire day. For example, if a nutrition label shows that one serving of dressing has 30% of daily total fat, it means that two tablespoons of this particular dressing give you almost a third of the all the fat that your body needs for the whole day. If you would like to lose weight or maintain weight loss, choose foods with lower percentages of daily requirements in the fat and carbohydrate categories. You can use this as a guide to make sure you get enough essential nutrients without going overboard on carbohydrates and saturated fats.6) If you need to count carbohydrates, subtract the grams of fiber from the total grams of carbohydrates to get the amount you will consume at one time. This new number constitutes the grams of active carbohydrates. When you plan a meal, you will need to add up all of the carbohydrates from each food to keep it at the recommended amount.7) To save time and money, choose the brands of the foods you consume wisely, and then keep using the same ones. For example, a slice of bread may have 5 to 30 grams of carbohydrates depending on the brand. Once you find one that you enjoy that fits into your budget and meal plan, stick with that brand.Thank you, and please feel free to connect with me on my website, if you have any questions or if I can serve you.