In this post, we’re going to hit the absolute basics in reading a food nutrition label properly. Reading a nutrition label can be overwhelming and time consuming when shopping. So I’ve picked a few good points to look for in order to help you choose the right numbers to focus on!

Calories

Let’s start with the big one. These bad boys are what truly influences weight gain or loss. While reading a nutrition label pay close attentions to “calories per serving” and then think about what that serving size is in relation to your actual serving size and how many servings per container.

Dietary Fiber

Now let’s move on to Dietary Fiber amounts. Fiber is very important for digestion and cholesterol control. You should focus on having about 25 grams of fiber per day as per the FDA.

Sodium

As mentioned previously should also be focused on as per the daily requirement is recommended to be around 2300 mg per day. Unfortunately some food may have at least half of your daily requirement!

Sugar

Sugar is another highly important number to pay attention too as well as the wording in which it’s included on the label. Wording may be labeled as “high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, or glucose to name a few. The sugar amount in food can play a large roll in calories consumed so its recommended to stay around 5 grams or less per serving.

Daily Values or “DV”

Daily value or DV is on every food label and pertains to the average of 2000 cal diet. This may be helpful when looking at what percentage of nutrients are included in the product as per your daily requirement.

Allergies

Lastly is the ingredient list, this is important for multiple reasons. One reason may be that if someone has an allergy, it’s important to look in this list for a possible hidden or unexpected allergen. Another reason is to assure the food product in which you are purchasing is not primarily GMO (genetically modified organism) and the actual product in the first listed ingredient. 

Devin McLaughlin, PTA


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