How to Read Nutrition Labels

Nutrition Labels – All You Need to know

Have you ever wondered what goes into the packaging of your favourite treats and cheats? The things that you love to devour, healthy or otherwise usually come with a marker if they are store bought. This marker is the nutrition label. More often than not this seems like jargon which is either difficult to read or then a struggle to understand. But deciphering the nutrition label on your most favoured packaging is a sure shot way of being able to pick healthy or relatively healthier from the not so healthy. It also helps you understand how much of ‘a good thing’ should be had at a particular time so as to satisfy both cravings and fitness goals all at once.

Like for a lot of things we have our friends in the USA to thank for nutrition labels as well. It was first introduced on packaging there in 1993. The Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) was created to regulate the food safety laws in India which include the FSSAI labelling laws.

Some of the more recent label updates from brands include a larger type font to demarcate Calories, Serving Size, and Servings per container. These three units are imperative and fundamental in calculating how much of the portion should be had at any particular time thus helping you make the relatively healthier choice.

Some of the things that you need to quickly watch out for on a nutrition label are highlighted below. These will be subjective usually and suited not to individual specifications. However these are the few most commonly noticed facts that one tends to read before purchasing the product. Let’s have a look How to Read Nutrition Labels.

1. Portion Size

There is now way of keeping a disciplined count on your calories without indulging in some well-meant portion control. This is why visually, it’s important that you can pick out the serving size from the label so as to help you eat correct, properly measured portions basis your daily calorie count.

2. Calories

No matter how indulgent you are with your food or how much you follow an organic diet, the calories you consume every day matters more than anything. This is why it is essential to eat the right number of calories each day. The calorie count on the nutrition facts panel shows how many calories are in a typical serving size. This can be of help when you are comparing different brands for the same food at the store before you make an informed purchase.

3. Fat and Cholesterol

We already know about good fats and cholesterol which is not harmful for us. Good fats will keep the body full throughout the day. But is it also important to keep a close eye on fat consumption since it is more calorie rich as compared to proteins and carbs. While reading the nutritional label for fat quantities, be sure to first check the amount of fat grams always.

4. Carbohydrates

Counting carbs is a good exercise in a weight loss and healthy eating mission. Being able to choose better sources of carbs is invaluable and imperative to maintain good health. The place where carbs are mentioned on nutrition labels provides important information when you need to make healthier decisions.

5. Protein

Protein is an important macronutrient the body needs for maintaining muscle mass. When you select things at the grocers be sure to read the Nutrition Facts labels. This will help you choose products that are protein rich. Lean meat and low-fat dairy foods are prime examples.

6. Vitamins and Minerals

It is mandatory for nutrition labels to also highlight the amount of vitamins and minerals in the food. Sodium, or table salt as we know it, gets its own prominence, because too much of its intake can be harmful for health. Others like vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium and iron, are listed below the thick black bar on the Nutrition Facts label.

7. Daily Value Percentage

Most people tend to give this vital statistic a miss, however it is crucial in being able to read the nutritional value of a food accurately. The numbers listed under “% Daily Value” are an indicator of how much a particular nutrient in the food contributes to the total daily diet on consumption of 2,000 calories.

So this is how you can read a nutritional label accurately to understand what you are about to buy is good for you or not. The next time you are wondering if something that’s caught your eye may be good for you or not, let the science and the numbers decide rather than the impulse and the craving. Happy shopping!

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