Welcome to our guide to everything you need to know about reading and understanding nutrition labels! Since grocery shopping plays a significant role in developing a healthy lifestyle, here is what you need to look out for when reading nutrition labels. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that all food manufacturers include food labels on their products. This requirement is referred to as the Nutrition Facts Labels, providing consumers with accurate nutritional information about the goods that they purchase.
However, this mandate is much more than a federal requirement as the information can be very helpful to customers as it serves as a guideline for planning healthier eating habits. The FDA recommends that manufacturers provide nutritional facts on their meat, poultry, seafood, and produce. Keep in mind, this is a recommendation and not a requirement. If a product doesn’t include a nutrition label, we usually avoid it! The next time you are out grocery shopping, take into consideration our comprehensive guide to better understanding what all the different labels mean!
What Is The Serving Size?
The serving size is usually a single serving size and most packages will include the total number of servings per package. Just beneath the ‘Nutrition Facts’ label, you’ll notice the information about the serving sizes as well as the number of servings per package. All of the information on these labels are based on a single serving. The serving size can be identified in different measurements such as one cup (one serving) or in other forms of measurement like grams, or milliliters for liquid products.
Calories Per Serving
This is where the nutrition facts label will indicate the amount of calories per serving. It simply provides you with the amount of calories which you will consume that come from fat. For instance, if a product suggests 250 calories in every cup or serving, almost half of that amount comes from fat. Keep in mind that this section of the label will not tell you whether you are consuming saturated or unsaturated fats.
Sugar, Fat, Sodium and Carbohydrate Contents
Vitamins and Minerals
Nutrition facts labels also include the essential vitamins and minerals on their list, including their percentage daily values. This section usually tells you everything you need to know about the percentage daily values of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Iron, Calcium, and other nutrients that the product provides. If your medical provider has recommended that you increase your intake of a specific nutrient, this section can come in very handy!
Limitations and Recommendations
The American Heart Association suggests limiting the consumption of fat to no more than 11 to 13 grams of saturated fat, based on a 1000-calorie diet. Consuming a small amount of trans fat and not over 1500mg of sodium is also strongly advised by the organization.
Also, getting enough beneficial nutrients is highly recommended when it comes to Vitamins, Iron, Calcium, Protein, Dietary Fibre and other essential nutrients that are necessary for everyday functioning. It is also important to take note that health experts highly suggest that you keep your saturated fat and cholesterol intake as minimal as possible. With these tips you can ensure a nutritional and healthier diet!
It’s important to note that the percentage daily value of trans fat is not always provided in nutrition facts labels as the FDA cannot provide a sufficient reference value in establishing its %DV, despite scientific reports that link saturated and trans fat with the increase of bad cholesterol levels, which are associated with the top leading causes of death in America – coronary heart diseases!
Hope this information has helped and if you have any comments, leave them below as we’d love to hear from you!
[ALSO SEE: TOP APPS FOR SUSTAINABLE & ETHICAL GROCERY SHOPPING]