Understanding Food Labels: The Basics Every Consumer Should Know
Food labels are an important tool for understanding what you are eating and making healthier choices. They provide information about the food’s ingredients and nutrition facts, so you can make informed decisions about the food you purchase and consume. In this blog, we will discuss the basics of understanding food labels and how to use them to make healthier choices.
Food labels contain important information about the food you are buying, such as the ingredients, nutrition facts, and allergen warnings. Ingredients are listed in order of weight, and the nutrition facts provide information about the amount of calories, fat, carbohydrates, protein, vitamins and minerals, and other nutrients in the food. Allergen warnings indicate whether the food contains any of the top eight allergens, such as milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish, or shellfish.
Servings and Serving Sizes
Understanding serving sizes and servings per container is important for accurately tracking your calorie and nutrient intake. The “Servings” section on a food label tells you how many servings are in the container, or how many portions you can get out of the package. This number can vary greatly depending on the food item and how it’s packaged. For example, a box of macaroni and cheese might have four servings, while a can of soup might have two. It also tells you how much of the food item constitutes one serving. This can also vary depending on the food item. For example, a box of macaroni and cheese might list the “Serving Size” as one cup, while a can of soup might list the “Serving Size” as one can.
These numbers can be confusing, but understanding them is important if you want to make sure you are getting the right amount of nutrition from the foods you eat. The “Servings” number tells you how many portions you can get out of the package, while the “Serving Size” tells you how much of the food item constitutes one serving. With this information, you can better understand how much of a particular food item you should be eating.
The next time you’re shopping for food, take a few minutes to check out the nutrition label and understand the “Servings” and “Serving Size” sections. With a better understanding of these numbers, you can make sure you’re eating the right portions and getting the right amount of nutrition from the food you consume.
The nutrition facts section of the label can be found on the back or side of most packaged foods and drinks. It includes information about the number of calories, total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrates, dietary fiber, sugars, and protein per serving. This section is especially important if you’re trying to watch your calorie intake or limit certain nutrients in your diet. This information can help you make informed decisions about the food you consume.
When reading the nutrition facts label, it’s important to note the serving size. The nutrients listed are based on the amount listed as the serving size. For example, if the serving size is 1 cup and you eat 2 cups, you are getting twice the amount of nutrients listed.
Ingredients are also listed on the label. Ingredients are listed in order of quantity, from most to least. It’s important to note that the ingredients list may not include all of the additives and preservatives that are in the food. Another important part of the nutrition facts label is the percent daily value (%DV). This is the amount of a nutrient in one serving of food, compared to the total recommended daily amount. For example, if the label says the %DV for sodium is 10%, it means one serving contains 10% of the daily recommended amount of sodium.
The nutrition facts label is an important tool for making informed food choices. It can help you choose foods that are lower in calories, fat, sodium, and added sugars. It can also help you choose foods that are higher in vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial nutrients. Taking the time to read the nutrition facts label can help you make healthier food choices.
Using Food Labels to Make Healthier Choices
Food labels can be a useful tool for making healthier choices. When shopping for food, look for items with fewer calories and lower amounts of fat, sugar, and sodium.
For example, when looking at the calorie count, you can decide if the food is a good choice for a meal or snack. If you’re trying to watch your calories, you’ll want to look for foods with a lower calorie count. If you’re looking to get more energy, you’ll want to look for foods with a higher calorie count. The fat content is another important factor to consider. A food’s fat content is expressed as a percentage of the total calories. If a food has more than 30% of its calories from fat, it’s considered high in fat. You’ll want to limit foods that are high in fat, as they can contribute to weight gain and other health problems. You should also pay attention to the sodium content. High amounts of sodium can lead to high blood pressure, so you’ll want to look for foods with lower sodium content. You can also compare products to find the one with the most nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals.
Additionally, checking the ingredients list can help you identify any potentially harmful ingredients, such as artificial flavors or preservatives. A product with a long list of ingredients is usually processed and not very healthy. Look for simple, natural ingredients like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Food labels can be a helpful resource for understanding what you are eating and making healthier choices. They provide important information about the food’s ingredients, nutrition facts, and allergen warnings. Knowing how to read and understand food labels is essential for making informed decisions about the food you purchase and consume.
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