If you need to know how to read nutrition labels, to start with, the food nutrition label facts label are located on each and every food item, and will tell you all the information about that food that you need to know. For some however, this information isn’t exactly that reader friendly for the novice. It isn’t as hard as you think, and here we will explain to you in detail just what nutrition facts information it is actually giving you. We have broken the sections down for you and go into detail about each subject covered by the labels. Here is a breakdown for you to help you better understand and be able to use these labels to your benefit!
How To Read Nutrition Labels
This size is based on the typical amount most people eat. Similar food items will have similar serving sizes, thus making it easier to compare 2 foods of the same category. Typically the serving size is 8 ounces, or 1 cup, depending on the type of food. It will also give you the amount of servings per container.
% Daily Value
This value on the labels indicates how much nutrients, calories, vitamins and such you will typically need based on a 2,000 calorie diet. This will help you to understand if the food has a lot, or just a little of the important nutrients your body typically requires under normal circumstances. Percentages are easier for some to remember and calculate, while others choose actual content, like grams and total calories. You can decide which you will use once you understand them better!
Amount Per Serving
The nutrients you’ll find listed in the amount per serving section on the labels are the ones that are most important to your health. The information in this section is important. At the very top of it, it gives you the calories, and calories from fat. Below that it breaks calories and portions down to specific types. It begins with Total Fat, by weight, such as 9g, or 9 grams, and a gram of fat is equal to 9 calories for your information. It also gives you the percentage of the daily value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. It also breaks down the fat into the type of fat, which include Saturated fat, which typically comes from meats, and Trans Fat, which is primarily partially hydrologized fat, and is hard for the human body to digest and process. Both saturated and trans fat aren’t very good, with trans fat being the worst. Try to avoid these if possible. After the fat section, it gives you the cholesterol, like 10mg, which is 10 milligrams. Hopefully that won’t be 10g, which is way to high! Next they give you the sodium content, which again, should be in milligrams, with the recommended amount for that being roughly 2400 mg. It then gives you the Total Carbohydrates, typically in grams, and the percentage. It also breaks down the carbohydrates into categories, which are dietary fiber, which is good, and sugars, which are okay in moderation, although it doesn’t give percentages for sugars. Dietary fibers are a good thing, so the higher, the better! Another good point to remember about carbohydrates is that every gram of carbohydrates is 4 calories. Last but not least, it gives you the Protein content, typically in grams again, without a percentage for that either. Protein is also a good thing, as it aids in muscle building and other useful bodily functions and needs and is like carbohydrates in that every gram = 4 calories. This information is useful to help you to calculate and, or track your daily totals of fat, fiber, sodium, and other nutrients. One other point I would like to add, a gram of alcohol = 7 calories, so watching what you drink is good if you are calorie conscious!
The last part of the food nutrition label gives you the percentages for vitamins and minerals, and most of those are minuscule for most food items, typically ranging from 0 to 5 percent. These are harder to judge what exactly you are getting, and how much you need, so further investigation may be warranted, as well as supplements, like a multi-vitamin/mineral supplement. Following below that gives you the total daily requirements for all the contents listed in the amount per serving section, based on both a 2,000 and 2,500 daily calorie diet in grams and milligrams.
Now that you know how to read nutrition labels and what they actually mean, it’ll be a lot simpler to eat healthy. Eating healthy is a great thing, especially when you use the nutrition facts label to assist you with your food choices. Remember, the more you understand these labels, the more healthy you will be able to eat and healthier you will become!