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Food Labels

Food labels are simply an explanation of what ingredients are included in the product and the nutritional information of the food item. They can help you to understand what you are eating and help you in eating healthier.

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example food label

How to Read a Nutrition Label

There are several parts to a label including:
  • A serving size. This tells you how much one person should eat at one time. The servings per product gives you an idea of how many servings are included in the bag or item. Ideally one serving should be used per person. The serving size helps you learn about portion sizes.  Servings over 400 calories are high.

  • Nutrition facts are included such as total fat, calories, protein, sodium, carbohydrates, fiber, sugar among other things. These will be listed for each serving not the whole product. Look for products with less than 10 grams of sugar. A product with 2-3 grams of fiber is best. Watch for high amounts of sodium in canned, processed food.

    For example, canned ravioli or canned cream soups have over 800 mg of sodium/serving. So if one can has 2.5 servings that is a total of 2,000 mg per can.  Ideally, the maximum amount of sodium in a day you should consume should be around 2,000 mg. So if you eat the whole can you've consumed your whole daily allotment of sodium. 

  • A list of ingredients. The main ingredient is listed first and continues in descending order. If sugar or corn syrup is the first ingredient on your label, then that food item is mostly sugar, which is not the best choice for nutrition. If you can't pronounce an ingredient, it probably not good for you! As many food products are full of preservatives. 

Once you've learned to read food labels it will help you in your daily diet. For good health you should watch your fat and calorie intake, as well as check the sodium. You would be surprised at how much sodium(salt) some common products have in them.

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