Food isn’t simple anymore. It exists in multiples and variations. Thousand varieties of rice, umpteen kinds of grains and edible oils – almost all of us never read and understand all the information on the nutrition label behind them before purchasing.
Food Labels tell you about the serving size, the number of servings in the package, calories per serving and the amount of various nutrients present in the product. This information helps you stay on track with your daily targets. It also helps you avoid certain ingredients if you have a food intolerance or are following a diet that excludes certain components, such as dairy. It helps you to stick to your diet.
Reading the calorie information on the labels will help you choose a low-calorie option to stay within your diet. It also helps you avoid the bad stuff like too much sugar, too much salt & too much trans fat. The best way to pick a truly trans fat-free food is to check the list of ingredients and avoid “partially hydrogenated fats” as they are high on trans fats. It’s crucial to determine your nutrition goals first so that you can make the best use out of food labels.
For instance, if you have high blood pressure, it’s crucial to pay attention to the sodium content. Packaged snacks can’t be purely healthy so it’s all the more important to shop prudently there. Shopping for the right oil is a quandary one is caught in these days. Choose vegetable oils and margarine with liquid vegetable oil as the first ingredient and no more than two grams of saturated fat per tablespoon, such as tub margarine, canola, corn, safflower, soybean, sunflower, and olive oils.
Here are what the terms mean:
Zero Fat: It means that the product has no more than 0.5gm fat/serving
Low Fat: It has no more than 3gm fat/serving. (Remember, low fat does not necessarily mean low calorie)
No added sugar: This doesn’t mean the product doesn’t contain any form of sugar. It may contain natural sugar. For instance, if it has fruit, it is likely to contain fructose.
Zero Cholesterol: It has less than 20mg of cholesterol
Low Calorie: It has less than 40 calories/serving
High fibre: The product has five or more grams of fibre/serving
Low sodium: Less than 140mg of sodium/serving (about a pinch of salt)
Reading labels isn’t just for people who want to lose weight, it is an important practice for everyone. You should be aware of what you’re eating, right?