How to Read Food Labels for Better Nutrition

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Making Good Food Choices Starts With Understanding Food Labels

Making smart food choices is an important part of maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle. To ensure you make the best food choices, it’s important to become familiar with some basic information on food labels. With an understanding of the language on a food label and the different pieces of nutritional information you can easily begin to make better decisions when it comes to your food.

What to Look For on a Food Label

On most foods, you will find a “Nutrition Facts” panel that includes important information about the food you are consuming. The labels typically include serving size, calories, fat, cholesterol, sodium, fiber, carbohydrate, protein, vitamin and minerals, and other information.

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Calories

The calories on food labels indicate how much energy you would get from eating the food, or how much energy it would take for your body to digest the food. Knowing how many calories are in a food will help you to make sure you are not consuming too many calories as part of your daily diet.

Nutrients

The “Nutrients” section on food labels lists the amounts of fat, fiber, protein, carbohydrate, sodium and various vitamins and minerals that are in the food. It can be helpful to compare different products in order to determine which product contains more of the beneficial vitamins and minerals.

Serving Size

It’s important to pay attention to the serving size listed on the food label, as this will help you determine how much of a particular food you can eat. Depending on the food, the serving size may be a single portion or more than one serving.

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Tips for Reading Food Labels for Better Nutrition and Health

Avoid Foods High in Sugar, Salt and Fat

One of the most important things to look for when reading a food label is the sugar, salt and fat content. Eating too much of these three ingredients can lead to weight gain, and in some cases, health problems.

Choose Fiber-Rich Foods

Fiber is an important nutrient as it helps to keep your digestive system healthy. Look for foods with a high fiber content, such as oatmeal, beans, fruits and vegetables.

Look for Whole Grains

Whole grains are important to include in a healthy diet. Look for the phrase “whole grain” on food labels, as this indicates that the food contains all of the important nutrients found in a whole grain.

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Choose Low-Fat Dairy

Dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt are important sources of protein, calcium, and other nutrients. Be sure to choose reduced fat or fat-free products to limit your intake of saturated fat.

Final Words

By understanding and reading food labels, you can ensure that the food choices you make are healthy and nutritious. Reading food labels will help you make informed decisions about which foods are best for you and your health. Additionally, with an understanding of the language on food labels and the different types of nutritional information, you will be able to make smarter food choices.

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