We can’t overemphasize enough how important it is to read nutrition labels because you should know exactly what you’re putting into your body.
Make sure to look at the serving size.
Most labels can be very misleading making the apparent “only 100 calorie” snack as little as one bite. This calorie information often lures customers in – always pay attention to the serving size!
Limit these ingredients.
Next you will see the total amount of saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, and sodium (salt) per serving. Health experts recommend to keep these numbers as low as possible to have a nutritionally balanced diet.
It is easy to get confused about the “total fat” column because it only displays saturated and trans fats, and doesn’t show unsaturated fat (the good kinds of fats your body needs!). Therefore, you have to subtract the amount of trans and saturated fats from the total to know how much unsaturated fat is in a product. See, it is that simple!
Make sure to get enough of these.
Make sure you’re eating enough nutrients that are found in dietary fiber, protein, calcium, iron, and vitamins. These will keep your body happy and healthy!
Next to the total sodium amount, carbohydrates, protein, and vitamins will be displayed. Have a closer look at the “total carbohydrates” column, because it also reveals the total amount of sugar and dietary fiber. Try to keep both as low as possible. For example, products like pasta are naturally high in carbohydrates, yet low in sugar, which are good. Try to have a high protein, vitamin, and mineral intake.
Read the fine print.
The general rule should be: If you can’t pronounce it, you shouldn’t eat it. Always avoid chemicals!
It’s also important to know the difference between an “organic” and a “natural” label. While the label “organic” is regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) which guarantees that the product is at least 95% organic, there are no such guidelines for the label “natural.” A lot of companies try to trick their consumers into thinking their processed foods are better for you by labeling them as “natural” even though they are not. Know the facts, so you don’t get fooled!
IMPORTANT UPCOMING CHANGES:
Hurray! For the first time in over 20 years, the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) has updated the nutrition label. Manufacturers have until July, 2018 to implement the new following changes: