How to Read a Nutrition Label
September 12, 2011
When you’re busy grocery shopping, it can be hard to take an extra minute to review the nutrition label of the food item you’re buying. However, reading the label is an important part of maintaining a healthy diet. Here are tips to read a nutrition label quickly, yet effectively:
Check the serving size and number of servings
- Check the serving size and make sure to note how many servings there are in the package. If there are two servings and you eat the whole container, it’s important to realize you are eating double the calories listed on the label.
- When you compare calories and nutrients between brands, be sure to check if the serving size is the same.
Daily Value percentages
- The Daily Value (DV) percentages are based on recommended daily allowances for a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet. For example, on a package of Healthy Selections Albacore Tuna Pouch, the nutrition label shows that one serving provides 30 percent of the recommend daily amount of protein.
- Depending on your calorie needs, your daily values may be higher or lower, but the daily value percentages are a helpful gauge.
Know your fats
- Fat-free doesn’t mean calorie-free. Low-fat items may have as many calories as full-fat versions, so be sure to review the provided information.
- Try to minimize saturated and trans fat. These are both “bad fats” that have been found to clog arteries and increase the risk of heart disease.
- To help lower cholesterol, replace saturated and trans fats with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated “good fats” found in seafood, nuts and liquid vegetable oils.