How to Read Nutrition Labels and Ingredient Lists

September 5, 2022
Minute Read

A nutrition label lists the nutritional content of all packaged foods and beverages. Understanding the exact values on the label translates into helping you maintain a healthy diet. And therefore your next trip to the grocery store a little easier and less stressful.

Serving Size: At the top of the label, you’ll see the total number of servings in the container, as well as a typical serving size for that particular food or beverage. Serving sizes are provided in measuring units like cups, pieces, grams, etc.

Calories: This number refers to the total number of calories per serving of the food or beverage.

Nutrients :It shows the inclusion of key nutrients that impact your health like Saturated Fat, Trans Fats, Sodium, Added Sugars, Dietary Fiber, Protein, Vitamin D, Calcium, Iron, and Potassium.

% Daily Value (%DV): Daily Values (DV) are the recommended amount of nutrients to eat in a day. %DV is measured in grams, micrograms, and milligrams. It shows how much of a nutrient is in a single serving so you can see how much it contributes to your daily recommended value. The %DV show much a nutrient in a serving of a food contributes to a total daily diet, and it helps you determine if a serving of food is high or low in a that nutrient.

As you scan the Nutrition Facts Labels at the grocery store, make sure to look at the ingredients list.

The ingredients are listed by weight—the ingredient that has the highest weight is listed first, and the one with the lowest is listed last. This is important, because if sugar shows up high on the list, we know the product should probably be eaten sparingly.

Here are a few tips to watch out for in ingredient lists:

•The shorter the list, the better

• If the first ingredients are sugar, sucrose, glucose, corn syrup, fructose or high fructose corn syrup, it’s better to avoid it

•Avoid as much as possible the following products:

✓ High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)

✓  Monosodium Glutamate

 ✓ Colorings (they start with E followed by a number)

✓ Processed vegetable oils like Canola, Soybean and Corn oil

 ✓ Hydrogenated vegetable oils like Palm oil

✓  Artificial sweeteners such as sucralose, saccharin, aspartame, and acesulfame

✓ Sodium Nitrate and Nitrite

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