How to Read a Food Nutrition Label

Nutrition labels can be a little confusing. There are a lot of lines and a lot of numbers to understand. Once you get the hang of it, it’s not that complicated of a system. Reading labels is important if you are trying to eat a more nutritional diet.

nutrition label

Here is a breakdown of what you’ll find on a label:

Serving Size – This is pretty self explanatory. Whatever is listed here is what is considered a serving size by the standards of the company and what all of the following numbers correspond to. If this says 1 cup then all the other number are per 1 cup.

Servings per container – This will tell you how many servings there are in one container of food. Pay attention to this number. Often times there are 2 or 3 servings per container that we would normally use all of. A good example of this is tomato sauce. We use the whole can of tomato sauce but there are 2-3 servings per can.

Calories – This is how many calories there are per serving.

Total Fat – How many gram of fat are in this food per serving.

Saturated Fat – Saturated fats are the bad ones that you do not want to take in. These will raise cholesterol and clog arteries. Avoid them whenever possible.

Trans Fat – These fats are worse than saturated fats. Not only do they raise the LDL (bad cholesterol) they also lower the HDL (good cholesterol). Sometimes foods such as meats will have natural traces of trans fat. These are okay to eat in moderation. Do not, however, make it habit to buy foods that list trans fat as more than 0 on their food label. This will turn to slush in your arteries and no body wants that!

Cholesterol – How many grams of cholesterol are in this food per serving. This number will most likely correlate to the number on the saturated fat. Try to keep this number low.

Sodium – How many grams of sodium are in this food per serving.

Total Carbohydrates – This is how many carbohydrates are found in this food per serving. This includes dietary fiber, sugar alcohols and any other sugar whether it’s natural or high fructose corn syrup. This will also include any whole grains, and good carbohydrates.

Dietary Fiber – This is how much fiber you will find in this food per serving. You can subtract this number from the total carbohydrates.

Sugars –  This can be artificial sugar like high fructose corn syrup, or natural sugar like sugar can. Either way you cut it, it’s sugar.

Other Carbohydrates – If a product uses sugar alcohols, they will be listed under this category.

Protein – The total amount of protein per serving.  The higher the number the more full you will feel.

Hopefully this helps you to understand food labels a little better. If you have any questions, feel free to leave me a comment below or send me an email: quarter

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