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“Nutrition Facts” Label Explained

photo 3Nutrition labels are on nearly every food we eat, whether it is a carton of eggs or a bottle of our favorite juice. These labels hold valuable information, but how well do we know what it all means?

Here are the daily suggested requirements of macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins and fats):

·   Only 7% of calories should be saturated fat

·   Less than 2 g of trans fats 

·   Less than 200 mg of dietary cholesterol

·   Less than 2300 mg of sodium

·   130g of carbohydrates per day for adults and children

·   Sugar should be limited to 25 grams per day or 100 calories (since 1 gram of  sugar contains 4 calories)

·   38 g of fiber for men 50 and under and 25g of fiber for women 50 and under

Everyone’s body is different and may require different levels of certain macronutrients. It is also important to consider how many calories you desire to consume in a day as well as your desired weight maintenance or weight-loss.

Once it becomes second nature to decipher a nutrition label we can begin to eat foods that are healthier and more nutritious!

Helpful Tips:

Look out for serving sizes! The nutrition facts typically only display the numbers for oneserving size. If there are 4 serving sizes in a chocolate bar and you eat the whole bar, you’d have to quadruple the numbers in order to get an accurate representation of what you consumed.

Trans fats should be avoided at all costs! Don’t immediately believe a product that claims “0 grams trans fats!”.  Always check the ingredients and if it says partially hydrogenated oil, shortening, or hydrogenated oil then it contains trans fats! The FDA only requires .5 grams or less of trans fats in order for food manufacturers to label them trans-fat free.

In order to quickly determine whether a certain nutrient is low or high based on the nutrition label, use 5% and 20% as your guidelines. 5% or less typically signifies that the nutrient is low. 20% or more means the nutrient is high in the product. (FDA)

Remember! Everything in moderation!

-Zeena

Sources:

http://www.cdc.gov/features/sodium/

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyDietGoals/Sugars-and-Carbohydrates_UCM_303296_Article.jsp

http://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/ucm267499.htm

http://www.livestrong.com/article/227474-how-many-carbs-should-you-have-a-day-to-lose-weight/

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