fbpx

4 Steps to Reading Nutritional Labels

Share this article:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on google
Share on pinterest
Food manufacturers are legally required to tell consumers what’s going into their food, but they don’t make it easy. Oftentimes, it can be tough to make heads or tails of exactly what they mean. Here are some easy tips to keep in mind the next time you’re buying groceries.

SERVING SIZE

Start by looking at serving sizes. Food packaging often lists nutritional content using two measurements: a recommended serving size and a standardized measurement (100 grams, 1 cup, 100ml). Pay extra attention to how large the listed serving size is. Manufacturers sometimes underestimate this to make the food seem healthier. By being attentive to the size of your own portions, you will be able to better estimate the food content.

CALORIES & FAT

The next thing you should be doing is to check the amount of calories there are in one serving and how much of that consists of fat. If saturated fat or trans-fat make up most of the fat content, it’s probably healthier to find an alternative instead. As a quick rule of thumb for calories per serving: 40 calories is a low amount, 100 calories is moderate and anything with 400 calories or more is high. Surplus calories translate into weight gain, so aim to get enough or just below on a daily basis. You can use a calorie calculator to estimate your daily energy needs.

NUTRIENTS

Now we’re getting into the middle section of the label which lists nutritional content. Aim to avoid foods with high concentrations of trans fats, saturated fats, cholesterol and sodium as an excess of these substances can cause health problems (In red). Substances which you should be getting more of are things like fiber, calcium, iron, other minerals, and vitamins (In green).

INGREDIENTS

Even though nutrition labels do not list out the exact amount of ingredients, manufacturers list their ingredients by quantity, from the highest concentration to the lowest. The more things there are on the list, the more processed the food is. As the first three ingredients make up the majority of what you’re eating, look out for refined grains, sugar (or sugar substitutes) and hydrogenated oils in the top three ingredients. Also keep an eye out for added sugars or syrups further down the list, manufacturers sometimes use multiple types of sugars to avoid it being in the top ingredients.

WRAP UP

The devil is in the details when it comes to food, so ignore the attractive front of food packaging and go straight to the back and read the nutritional label to know what you and your family will be consuming. Here’s a label from Carver’s Homemade Nut Buttersthat we love! Alternatively, buy local produce. So fresh, it doesn’t even come with packaging.

Share this article:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on google
Share on pinterest

RELATED ARTICLES

RELATED ARTICLES

RECENT POSTS

Dispelling Five Myths of the Keto Diet

If you haven’t heard of the keto diet – the hyper low-carb dietary craze of celebrities and bloggers – you may have been living under a block of cheese. In fact, it has entered that phase in the lifecycle of a fad diet where it strays from its original meaning and people use it to describe all sorts of pseudo-dietary choices. These are a few common mis-keto-ceptions about the keto diet. Myth 5: The keto diet works like Atkins, only more extreme …

DNA and Nutrition – What Your Genes Tell You to Eat

  You are what you eat, it’s true. But you also eat what you are, in the sense that your DNA determines – to an extent – what you like, what you need, and how your body reacts to food. This is why the same diets and dieting tricks don’t work for everyone. Sometimes people are simply going to be fatter, slimmer, more muscular or skinnier than other people. Based on this logic, two dietary theories have arisen. The first is that …

Does Burnt Food Really Cause Cancer?

Who doesn’t love a good grilled asparagus, blackened tilapia or seared chicken? But not too seared – after all, burnt food gives you cancer, right? Well, not exactly. The idea that burnt food contains toxic, cancer-causing carcinogens has been floating around for about 20 years, fuelled time and again by headline-hungry news coverage that sometimes seems to misunderstand the research. Let’s start with the science. There are three chemicals that have raised nutritional eyebrows when it comes to cooked food …

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on google
Share on pinterest