Nutrition label information: What’s Important?
Its coming, you know it and I know it. We adults use any reason or (New Years, Christmas, Independence day, etc) any holiday to let our taste buds run a muck. We eat cookies, cakes, drink alcoholic drink in excess and eat, late dinners. Months later we have regrets and want to burn off the weight,we also have a tendency to start trying many fad diets to loose the weight gained during the holidays. 90% of us fail inevitably. I propose something a little different, take 5 minutes educate yourself on how to read your food nutrition label information, there are some key factors that may be key in helping you go from making a horrible dietary choice to just a bad one. Many times education is the biggest hindrance to eating healthy and staying healthy. Can reading up and understanding a few basic pieces of information help us make better decisions ? We hope, lets look at some basic information that everyone should know about nutrition labels of the product they will be eating or drinking.
Serving Sizes and Servings Per Container
Before you look at any of the other nutrition label information you must first understand serving sizes. At the top of the product label will be the serving size and servings per container. This section tells you how much a serving is based on the product. It is important to keep serving sizes in mind when looking at the rest of the nutrition label information because the actual values will vary based on if you eat more or less than the serving size.
Calories are a measurement of the energy that a food or beverage yields. Think of calories as the fuel your body needs throughout the day. The amount of calories, or fuel, you need depends on a number of factors such as your current height and weight, whether you want to lose, gain, or maintain your current weight, and your activity level. Calories in foods come from carbohydrates, protein, or fat and a total is provided in the nutrition label information. The way a product label calculates the calorie content is actually very simple because carbohydrates, protein, and fat have a set amount of calories per gram. Carbohydrates and proteins have 4 calories per gram while fats have 9 calories per gram.
Daily Values are given in the nutrition label information in the form of a percent. The product label tells you how much of your daily value is in one serving. Daily values are given on the product label to make it easy for customers to know how nutritious a product is at a glance. Generally speaking, if a value on the product label is 5% or less it is low, and 20% or more is high. It is important to understand that daily values on the nutrition label information are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so if your calorie limit is higher or lower these percentages will not be accurate. However, daily values can still be a guide used to compare a product’s nutritional value because a product label is standardized. For example, if you are looking at the nutrition label information of apple juice that has the same calorie content, but one has 25% Vitamin A and the other has 75% Vitamin A than the second is a better choice because there is more nutritional value.
The nutrition label information provides you with the fat content of each serving. Fat is an essential part of your diet, it provides you with energy, supports cell growth, protects your internal organs and helps regulate your body temperature. Some fats are needed to aid the absorption of some nutrients as well. There are 4 different kinds of fats: saturated fat, trans fat, monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat. The product label will list out the total fat in a serving as well as the trans and saturated fats since these should be limited. The total amount of fats you consume should be limited to 56-78 grams a day, with less than 16 grams of saturated fats and less than 2 grams of trans fat for a 2,000 calorie diet.
According to dietary guidelines, you should get half of your calories from eating carbohydrates every day, for someone with a 2,000 calorie diet that is 250 grams. The nutrition label information will list out the total carbohydrates that a serving has as well as break down the sugar and fiber content. This is because the amount of sugar you consume should be limited to 9 teaspoons a day for men and 6 teaspoons a day for women. Most men and women consume a much greater amount than recommended. Additionally, most men and women do not get the recommended servings of fiber, which is 25 grams a day. In the case of carbohydrates, it is important to check the nutrition label information to see what makes up the total amount per serving, whether it be sugar or fiber, rather than focus on the total number on the product label.
Most men and women go get their recommended daily allowance of protein on average, which is usually between 40-70 grams depending on your calorie requirements. You should still check the nutrition label information of the foods you eat to make sure that you are getting your recommended amount.
Cholesterol and Sodium
Cholesterol and Sodium are printed on the product label because they both should be limited. Most men and women get much greater amounts than is recommended and this can cause health problems. According to statistics over 97% of Americans consume more than the recommend 1,500 mg of sodium per day. There are those that are on special diets that limit Cholesterol and Sodium so nutrition label information breaks down their values on the product label.
Nutrition Label Information at the end of the day is the key to any diet or weight loss program. Its simple math, burn more than you take it, we all know this, but understanding how to create a healthy balance diet, will help you in recovering from any holiday excess.