How do we know exactly what we are eating? Nutrition facts label. There you have it – a simple question that is followed by a simple answer.
But it is there that the simplicity of it all ends. Nutrition food labels are anything but simple, if you have no idea what to look for. The average nutrition fact label contains a whole batch of percentages and measurements. So what do they all mean?
Food product labels are grids that appear on the backs of all food products and have to do so by law.
The first thing to remember is that nutrition label is supposed to be there to help you to meet your dietary requirements. Whether you are looking to lose weight, gain weight or just make sure that you are as healthy as possible, being able to read a nutrition label is essential. This begins with understanding the way in which the food label is laid out instead of the figures it displays.
Always begin reading food product labels at the top and work your way down. This is pretty logical but very few people apply logic when they are reading a label because the print tends to put them off.
The top of the nutrition facts label will state the serving size and the number of servings within the packaging. This will make the reading of the label much easier because you can see the nutritional value per one serving.
The order is as follows:
Locate the column accordingly and then take a good look at the nutrition facts label as a whole. The information on the left tells you what is in a serving and the percentage values tell you how much of each nutrient’s daily dose you are getting from the food.
%DV stands for the percentage of the daily value you are supposed to eat to stay healthy. You must not eat more than 100% of each nutritional element per day, especially where fats, cholesterol, sodium are concerned. However, you should bear in mind that the %DV is based on a 2000 calorie diet so it might not be suitable for everyone. But still you can use this information to see if any particular food is low or high in nutrients that you are interested in.
When you have become accustomed to the food nutrition labels layout, it is time to get to grips with the figures. Firstly, check the calorie count to make sure that it is within your calorie intake level remaining for the day.
After you are satisfied that the calorie count is OK, move to the rest of the nutritional content. By all means look at the gram measurements given, but also concentrate on the percentages.