Household owners who usually buy their supply at the grocery stores already know where to locate everything on their list. Supermarket and grocery stores arrange their display according to the category of fresh vegetables, fruits, frozen meat, dairy, canned goods, etc. Almost all items inside are packed, canned, or bottled and each product has its own nutrition facts label at the back. This information is included because they are very vital for consumers to know. If you want to buy food products that are healthy for your family, then you should also look at the label at the back to know what is inside of the food you are bringing in to your table.
However, first-timers are having a hard time understanding the food label. This is normal and you can learn more about the food label as you read the rest of the article.
Step1. Always start with the serving size or the number of servings for each package. This is very important especially for people who are watching their calorie intake.
Step2. You need to closely look at the total calories as this will tell you the number of calories per serving size.
Step3. Read the percent daily value or DV of the product. This is important information because it can tell you the percentage daily value of nutrients per 2,000 calories a day.
Step4. Make yourself familiar with the terms such as low, high, fat-free, sugar-free, excellent source, and many more.
Step5. Always choose food products that are low in sodium, trans fat, sugar, saturated fat, and high in fiber.
Step6. The nutrition label will also tell you if the product can provide enough vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Look for products with high DV for nutrients.
Step7. Lastly, you will find additional or added nutrients.
After knowing all of these important aspects of labeling, you need to know the significance of taking time reading each label so you will not feel bothersome every time you do it while shopping inside a grocery store.
1. Make Healthy Food Choices
According to a study published by Food Policy in 2010, nutrition facts label can influence people’s choices. This is helpful, especially when deciding about two similar food products as you can base your decision just by looking at the label. A wise decision should be base on its daily value for nutrients, and which one has very low sodium, trans fat, cholesterol, saturated fat, and sugar. Also, the label will tell you if the product has additives and other ingredients that you need to avoid in your diet.
2. Manage Weight Gain
Reading the nutrition label can provide information that you need to make the right decision when you are trying to live a healthy lifestyle and managing your weight. A research study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, people who are advised by their doctor to lose weight because of health reasons who read labels before buying showed a decrease in the consumption of calories, fat, sugar, and sodium in their diet. This is in comparison to a group of people who do not read nutrition facts at all.
3. Right Nutrient Consumption
Some people need more particular nutrients than others like vitamin C, A, iron, folate, potassium, and many more. This is according to the health status of an individual. The food label can tell you the percent daily value for each nutrient present in the product. It will give you a good idea which food products are high and low in essential nutrients that your body needs. Consider those products with 10 percent or higher daily value for nutrients.
4. Compare Good Fats vs. Bad Fats
In the past, people only know fat, but fats are not all bad. Today, there is an emphasis on good and bad fats. The food label can tell you more about what is inside the food product that you are buying. The body needs fat in order to function well as it is responsible for different bodily functions such as transporting fat-soluble vitamins and keeping the skin soft. By reading the nutrition facts label, you will find out if the product contains more bad fat like saturated and trans fat. You need to look for those with a high amount of unsaturated fats or good fats.
One of the most important aspects of the food label is the allergy declaration. Today, there is a new list of declared allergens from 8 it goes up to 14. There are additional 6 new sources of food allergies such as celery, mustard, sesame seeds, sulphites and sulphur dioxide, lupin, and mollusks. Food manufacturers should declare the possible contamination of allergens in their products. Even if the product does not contain specific allergens, they still need to declare if it was processed in a facility that is also processing food products with allergen as an ingredient.