Part 1- Reading Nutrition Labels
Navigating the nutrition facts table
Nutrition Facts labels are there to help us make better choices. They are your tool for making informed decisions that contribute to lifelong healthy eating habits.
This breakdown will show you how to use this information more effectively, so you can make more informed choices about what you’re putting in your body!
What you need to know;
Nutrition facts labels are mandatory for most foods. They show you the serving size, calories and 13 core nutrients; fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrate, fibre, sugar, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium and iron. - The information on these labels is based off of a 2000kcal diet as a general guide.
When skimming the table your Primary concern should be to look for the recommended serving size, your specific nutrients of interest (the ones that support your personal dietary needs) and the DV% (daily value) of those nutrients.
For general use a DV% tells you whether there is a little or a lot of a nutrient in a food. - 5% or fewer means a little. 5% or more means a lot.
Nutrients we generally want more of are; fibre , calcium, and iron.
Nutrients we generally want less of are; added sugars, sodium, saturated or trans fat.
-if a DV is 20% or greater that is very high.
Keep in mind; dietary fiber, vitamin D, calcium, iron and potassium are generally nutrients we do not get the recommended amount of. So, if a food is high in these key nutrients that is generally a good thing. Unless of course you have a condition that recommends limiting that nutrient.
DV% for some nutrients (ex; dietary fiber) will suggest the Lower limit= Eat "at least" this much.
For others (ex; saturated fat) it suggest an Upper Limit= Eat "less than" this much.
What to watch out for;
Just because a food has a nutrient claim like "light," "low," "reduced," or "high," in any specific nutrient does not mean it is better than one that does not have this claim. It is a marketing tactic (that often works).
Its important to note that some things, like total sugars listed often include added and natural sugars like those in fruit and milk, this is why in addition to the nutrient facts table you should also be reading the ingredients label which I will cover in part 2.
I encourage you to go to the grocery store and check out the nutrient facts table on some of your favourite foods. You may be surprised to see just what’s in some of the staple foods your consuming.
It may seem like a lot to digest but take it In strides. Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the basics this is information you won’t forget it- like riding a bike. Knowledge is power.
Get in Touch with me
I provide Food and Fitness plans for clients worldwide. All plans include lifestyle coaching tips, guidance, meal plan creation, mindset mentoring and customized fitness plans to help you achieve your health and fitness goals.
I specialize in sustainable fat loss and strength training integration for people with busy lives.
your health is ALWAYS worth the investment.