What do you know about this helpful little label? Here's the lowdown about using the Nutrition Facts panel to promote good health...
The top of the Nutrition Facts Label is loaded with great information. Check out the serving size. Does it match the size of the serving you usually eat? Often, the serving sizes we eyeball are much larger than the ones listed on the Nutrition Facts Label. Consider measuring your food in the serving sizes provided in order to recalibrate your expectations.
The next great piece of info at the top of the label is the servings per container. Many manufacturers sneakily assert that a single candy bar or bottle of soda actually contains 2 or more servings. Does that match your eating habits? How do the calories per serving add up as the portions get larger?
Servings per container is also important in terms of mindless snacking. Have you ever brought a bag or box of food over to your TV or computer and found that you ate way more than you meant to? Consider portioning out a single serving instead of snacking directly from the bag.
Use the listings for saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, and sodium to protect your heart from foods that may do damage, choosing items with low levels of these elements.
The % Daily Value (DV) is your friend here. 5% or less is low, while 20% or more is high.
Get the Good Stuff!
Choose foods that are good sources of fiber. After all, fiber can aid weight loss, help lower cholesterol, aid the control of blood sugar, and it keeps your digestive system on track.
Are there nutrients in the food you’re examining? Check the bottom of the label for the % DV of vitamins and minerals! Remember, 5% or less is low and 20% or more is high!
Looking for more information about the Nutrition Facts Label? Check out these fantastic resources from the Nutrition Education Store!
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Stephanie Ronco has been editing for Food and Health Communications since 2011. She graduated from Colorado College magna cum laude with distinction in Comparative Literature. She was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 2008.