How To Go About Reading Food Labels?
Are you trying to lose weight or just planning to eat healthy? In both scenarios, it is important that you read food labels. Once you are able to get the basics right, you will know which packaged food you need to choose and which ones are unhealthy. In this modern era, you need to depend on packaged food to a certain extent. So, learn reading food labels so that you can eat better as well as track your calories.
Reading food labels the right way!
Here is how to read the food label the right way so that you never get fooled:
Most food manufacturers try to fool people with the serving size. For example, chips manufacturers list the serving size as only 10 g and not the full bag of chips. So, when you first look at it, you will feel that the calorie count of the packet of chips is quite low since the calories are counted only for a few chips. So, you need to check both the serving size and the total weight of the bag in order to know the number of calories you ingest.
Calculate the number of calories consumed according to the no of servings you have. For example, if the serving size of a cup of ice cream is 1 serving and you eat only half of it, the number of calories consumed by you will be half of what is mentioned on the label.
Even if you are trying to lose weight, just ensure that the total calories you consume don’t fall below 1200 calories if you are a female and 1800 calories if you are a male.
Fats have been demonized all this while but not all of them are bad. In fact polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats fall in the category of healthy fats. However, you need to limit saturated and trans fats. While saturated fat is still caught up in the healthy-unhealthy debate, trans fat is the worst kind of fat you can ever eat. You should try to look for food with zero trans fats. Saturated fat can be consumed according to your calorie intake. If you consume 2000 calories a day, your limit for saturated fats is 16 g.
If you have been advised by the doctor to keep your dietary cholesterol levels low, be careful about the cholesterol content on the food label. Limit your intake of processed foods high in alcohol. Consume foods such as eggs that do contain cholesterol but at the same time are healthy and lower blood cholesterol levels.
Do you know that on an average an Indian consumes 119 percent more salt than the limit recommended by WHO? While most people limit their intake of salt only after they start having health issues, it would be wiser to keep salt consumption below the recommended safe limit right from the beginning. The limit is 2300 mg and it would be advisable to consume not more than 1500 mg. Nutrition labels display the salt content so that you know where to stop.
Carbs have also been demonized but not all carbs are bad for you. In fact you need good carbs that are an essential part of a diet. However, processed carbs are unhealthy. So, if you are on a low carb diet, just cut back on any snack that is more than 15% of your total carb requirement.
The nutrition label has the number of grams of protein and not the percentage value as protein requirement varies according to factors like age, sex, body weight and daily activity levels. An average woman with a sedentary lifestyle needs 46 g of protein a day and man needs 56 g.
Vitamins and minerals
The ones listed on the label might be added to the food product while manufacturing. The need for vitamins and minerals varies from person to person.
I hope with this post you have learnt reading food labels!
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