Food labels or nutrition labels are read by the consumers for various reasons. Few people compare the brands. The terms used on food label are difficult to understand and they are printed really very small which makes very difficult to read with naked eye are the problems faced by the consumers. Nutritional information will be understood people by TV advertisements, magazines etc. Labels are considered more consumer friendly when benchmarks regarding serving size are provided. Consumers with special dietary needs used nutritional labels regularly.
- 1 What is nutrition label?
- 2 Various names on the food label
What is nutrition label?The nutrition label helps you determine the amount of calories and nutrients in one serving of food. Nutrients include fats, carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals. This information helps you to know whether you are eating a healthy, balanced diet. The nutrition facts label has many numbers which are confusing with complicated calculations that will give you memories of mathematics in school. Many times you may buy a product with a real claim but unknowingly overlook the undesirable ingredients. For example if you are going to purchase a fat free product, though it is fat free it may have plenty of sugars which is also not healthy. When you begin to read it, make sure what you are looking for.
Various names on the food label
Serving sizeA serving size is the amount of food that is typically eaten in one serving. It is listed as a general household measurement, such as pieces, cups or ounces. Serving size is an important part of a healthy diet. Eating very large servings (or portions) can contribute to weight gain because as you eat larger portions, you eat more calories. It’s important to compare the serving size listed on the container to the amount of that food that you normally eat.
Calorie meterIf the total calories per serving are 170 and calories from fat 60, two servings of this food item mean you consumed 340 calories with 120 of the calories coming from fat. In India, the normal calorie intake is supposed to be 2,400 calories in rural areas and 2,200 in urban areas.
- 40 Calories is low
- 100 Calories is moderate
- 400 Calories or more is high
Saturated fatSaturated fat, trans-fat and cholesterol are the ingredients to limit in your diet. These ingredients cause heart diseases and increase cholesterol levels. The average adult should not consume not more than 20gm of saturated fat per day. Trans-fats are oils which have been chemically modified to increase a product’s shelf life. They are harmful as they increase the levels of bad cholesterol while reducing good cholesterol. Trans-fat intake should be 0 gm per day. When you read a nutrition label remember that companies are allowed to list the amount of trans-fat as “0 grams” if it contains less than .5 grams of trans fat per serving. This means that your food can contain some trans-fat even if the nutrition label says “0 grams” per serving. It may be mentioned as hydrogenated vegetable oil on the label. Cholesterol intake should be less than 300mg per day (less than 200mg if you heart-related disorders).
Unsaturated fatThis fat is good for the body as they lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of developing coronary heart diseases.
- Polyunsaturated fatty acids- They are required for the body for proper functioning such as tissue building, blood clotting and fighting inflammation. If you spot Omega-3 and Omega-6, this indicates polyunsaturated fatty acids. Other sources include un-hydrogenated soybean oil, canola oil, flax seeds and walnuts
- Monounsaturated fatty acids- Most nuts contain these. You may want to consider products made in olive oil or groundnut oil as a source of monounsaturated fats