Unhealthy Diets are a leading cause of avoidable illness and premature death. Diets high in saturated fat and calories and low in fruit and vegetables accounts for 1/3 of cardiovascular disease and 30-40% of cancers. Food labels informs consumers about the nutrition in food & allows them to make purchase decisions based on nutrition.
Understanding the food labels on what you are consuming should not take a dictionary. This quick food label guide will help you get the most out of these confusing labels.
- Serving Size : Is one package 1 serving or 3? If the serving size for a single package is more than 1, multiply all of the other numbers by that amount to understand what you are consuming.
- Calories : This equates to the amount of energy you receive from a single serving of that food. Food that is high in nutrients but is not high in calories is your best choice.
- Fat : There are three types of fa. Unsaturated fats are good for the heart. They are found in liquid at room temperature. Saturated fat are recommended in moderate levels. High levels may cause heart disease. They are found in meat and dairy products. Trans fat should be avoided. It is man made and is linked to diabetes, heart and cardiovascular diseases.
- Cholesterol : Too much cholesterol is bad for your heart.
- Sodium : Regulates blood pressure and blood volume. healthy adults should limit sodium intake to 2,300 per day.
- Carbohydrates : The number 1 source of energy for your body. Processed carbs are burned quickly and will spike your blood pressure. Whole grain carbs are high in fibre and will keep your appetite and blood sugar stable.
- Dietary Fibre : It helps in digestive process stay healthy. High fibre will keep you full longer.
- Sugar : Women should limit sugar intake to 100 calories per day. Men should limit sugar intake to 150 calories per day.
- Protein : 0.8 grams of protein should be consumed for every pound of body weight.
- Percent Daily Value : Based on the number of nutrients the body needs in a single day. 5% or less is low and 20% or more is high. Select foods that have a high daily value for fibre, vitamin A and C, calcium and iron. Avoid goods that are high in trans fats, cholesterol and sodium.
- Ingredients List : Listed in the order the product is found in the food. If partially hydrogenated oil is on the list, then the product contains trans fat, even if the trans fat % says zero.
Women and those who do the household shopping most likely to read food labels. Stay aware of the food you are buying and consuming.