How to Properly Read Nutrition Labels

How to Properly Read Nutrition Labels

Don’t focus on how much you eat, focus on what you eat.

Nutrition labels gives us the power to make better decisions regarding what we choose to feed our bodies. This gives us the power to easily compare products, manage better diets, and find out the nutritional value of foods we need and don’t need. If reading nutrition labels can be overwhelming or you just need a quick refresh on how to navigate through it, here are some helpful tips to help you make better nutrition choices!

1. Serving Size

Start reading the top of the nutrition label where the serving information is located. This number will tell you the portion or size of a single serving and the total number of serving per container or package. This can help you manage your portions sizes.

2. Calories

The next section of the label states the caloric intake. Pay attention to this part of the label when deciding how many servings you really need. Calories, units of energy, basically tells you how much energy you can get from one serving of the food.

3. What to avoid

Try limiting the amounts of fat, saturated fat, trans fat, sodium, and cholesterol. Usually these items can be found towards the center of the label. As for sugar, try avoiding added sugars (caloric sweeteners) such as sucrose, glucose, fructose, and even corn syrup. In addition, try looking for nutrition labels with a low sodium (salt) intake and a higher potassium serving.

4. Nutrients to increase

Instead, choose foods and ingredients with more beneficial nutrients such as protein, calcium, iron, dietary fiber, vitamins and other daily nutrients to help you going during the day. Make sure you carbohydrates whole grain and less refined.

5. Daily value

The daily value % (DV) represents the percentage of each nutrients in a single serving. Take advantage of these numbers to compare different foods to each other to decide which has more nutritional value. Remember, 5% DV or less is very little and 15% DV or more is a lot.