Understanding how to read nutrition labels can help you determine which foods you should and should not eat. As a skill, knowing how to read food labels can save you time and headaches associated with this task.
While you cannot familiarize yourself with every ingredient on food packaging, you can become aware of harmful ingredients and control what you consume.
The following sections explain the importance of reading food labels, when doing so is necessary and how labels can enable you to purchase and eat healthier foods. Not only can labels tell you when to avoid a product due to food allergies, but they can also help you maintain your weight goals and limit your calorie intake. Additionally, a nutrition label allows you to compare the nutritional value of food products to . If you want to become a more informed consumer, you should review the information in the sections below.
Nutrition labels are stickers posted on the packaging of all food items and beverages and are outlined by a table. Each food label provides you with various types of information regarding the item’s ingredients and how it can help you reach recommended nutritional goals based on your calorie intake. Labels are required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and are divided into categories based on the value of ingredients. A description of these categories is as follows:
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By keeping all this in mind, you will learn how to create well-balanced meals with the correct nutrients and serving sizes.
You should always read food labels before buying food products from grocery stores or other locations. Understanding how to read nutrition labels helps you determine which foods may be best for your diet, so you are encouraged to do so before consuming any foods. While you should not be preoccupied with reading labels, you should try to read as many labels as possible to ensure your food is safe and healthy. The following list details other situations in which you should review labels on your food:
Of course, you are always encouraged to read nutrition labels any time you want to check the quality of a packaged food item or beverage.
The following steps explain how to read nutrition labels by evaluating each section of the label separately:
When reading food labels, you should try to avoid certain ingredients by eliminating foods with high amounts of them from your diet. For instance, the fats you consume, such as saturated and trans fats, should only consist of about 20 to 35 percent of your total calories. You should also eat less sugar and salt and be weary of food labels that list added sugars (e.g., sucrose, glucose and corn syrup) as the top ingredients.
Food packaging may be misleading and only attempt to advertise the product rather than inform you on the nutritional value of it, but nutrition labels are required to tell consumers exactly what ingredients are in packaged food products. Understanding nutrition labels can protect you from consuming all types of dangerous chemicals and food products that may affect your overall health. Food labels can help you limit fats, sugars and cholesterol from your diet as well as increase the amount of healthy nutrients your body receives. You should know how to read food labels to enable you to make smart food choices to help manage health.
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