Many students think that the information on a food label doesn’t apply to them or is a waste of time to read. You may glance at the how many calories an item has but there is a lot of other information you need to make a good decision about buying products! Leah Kittle, a registered dietitian for the University of Tennessee Medical Center has a short clip about how to read the label and use the information. I will go through some specific parts of the label Kittle says are important to us as consumers and what to look for in a label.
Step 1: Serving Size: This is important to notice because all the information that follows in the label will be based off of one serving size of that food.
Step 2: Calories: Along with serving size, look at the calories. The label should show the total calories and the calories from fat. You don’t want more than 30% of the total calories to be from fat. For example, if you had 200 calories total, you would not want the calories from fat to exceed 60 calories. If you are looking for a free calorie counter try the SuperTracker from choosemyplate.gov!
Step 3: Total Fat: The label further breaks down the total fat in the food into Trans fats/saturated fats and monounsaturated/polyunsaturated fats. Avoid foods with trans or saturated fats as these raise bad cholesterol but mono and polyunsaturated fats are actually good for you. The percent values down the right side of the label are called the daily percent values (%DV). A low %DV is 5% or less and a high %DV is 20% and up. Aim low in total fat, saturated fat, and trans fat.
Step 4: Cholesterol and Sodium: The next part of the label is the cholesterol portion. You don’t want to consume more than 300mg of cholesterol per day so look at the label to know how much you are eating and how much you have left to still be able to consume. Along the same lines, you want to watch how much sodium you are eating. The total sodium intake is 2,300mg per day. Watch ou... [More]