Wellbeing Wednesday: Decode the Nutrition Label

Decoding your foods’s macronutrients according to the nutrition label should not be complicated. So let’s take a quick look and break it down a bit!

 

Nutrition Lable

 

Serving Size

This can be a bit tricky dependent on the size of the package or container your food product is in.

For example: Let’s pretend that you buy an eight ounce can of Orange Juice. On the can’s Nutrition Label it may say Servings per container: 1 can (8 fl oz). However, now you buy a 64 ounce container of the very same Orange Juice.  Now on this label it reads: Servings per container: 8, Serving Size: 8 fl oz.

This simply tells us that the larger 64 ounce container is comprised of more servings than the small can, which is actually an individual serving size. The stated serving size is what is further defined within the Nutrition Label. Dependent on what type of food the label is identifying, you may see other descriptive words like 1 slice(XX grams) for bread, 1 packet (XXgrams) for instant oatmeal, 1 container, 1/3 cup dry, etc.

 

Calories

This is the one most of us know all too well! Calories are the amount of energy you receive from an individual serving size of food. Typically, foods like fruits and vegetables that are high in nutrients but low in calories are great options for those looking to maintain or even lose weight.

 

Fat

There are usually three fats noted on the label.

 

Unsaturated Fats

These are considered the “good” fats and have been found to aid in heart health. You may find this fat in your avocado spread or cooking oil, if you use olive oil.

 

Saturated Fats

These are often found in meat and dairy and are typically recommended in moderate amounts due to the likelihood of increasing LDL (bad) cholesterol.

 

Trans fats

These are man-made fats that should be avoided as they have been linked to diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

 

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Cholesterol

It’s made by your body, but it can also be found in animal products such as meat, poultry and full-fat dairy.  Too much cholesterol from food can be bad for your heart.

 

Sodium

Otherwise known as salt, sodium is often found in processed and pre-packaged meals and foods. Beware of too much sodium as it has been linked to increased likelihood of hypertension. The Daily Value of Sodium for Americans 4 years of age and older  is less than 2,400 milligrams (mg) per day.

 

Carbohydrates

Hello ENERGY! Carbs are the number one energy source for your body. Long lasting carbohydrates like sweet potatoes can maintain your energy for hours and help regulate blood sugar. Quick carbs found in an apple may last you only an hour or two but is a better, healthier choice than processed carbohydrates like candy. Heavily-processed carbs can often increase blood pressure and burn too quickly to produce sufficient energy.

 

Dietary Fiber

Hoping to achieve a bit of regularity? High-fiber foods like beans, oats, some vegetables and fruits will help you feel full longer and keep your digestive tract healthy and happy!

Sugar

It is recommended that women limit sugar intake to 100 calories daily while men should aim for 150 calories daily. Be aware that there are different types of sugars however. Refined sugars like those found in cakes and candies are a less nutritious option than fructose which is naturally found in fruits like apples, berries and peaches.

 

Protein

Daily Reference Intake (DRI) from leading authorities in nutrition suggest that  sedentary individuals should consume 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight. As physical activity increases, so does the DRI of protein. Protein can be found in vegetables, beans and lentils, meats, milk, eggs, nuts, etc.

For example: As a sedentary female weighing 130lbs, Susan will aim to get 46.8 grams of protein daily from her foods.

 

Ingredients

This is what is found in your food item, listed in order of amounts found in the item from  most to least.

 

 

Now that you know you better understand your food’s label, what healthy choices will you be making?


 

We are here to help! If you’re ready for support or want more information on healthy eating, drop us an or give us a call at 877-293-9355 ext. 0!

 

 

– CASEY EDMONDS, CHC

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