What to Look for on a Nutrition Label

What to Look for on a Nutrition Label

Most people know how important it is to be cognizant of what they are putting in their bodies—especially when it comes to packaged and processed foods. It can be very difficult to determine what foods are actually healthy across the grocery store aisles and what foods are simply being marked as “healthy options.” With packaging now stating everything from “low fat” and “reduced calorie” to “made with real milk,” it is hard to tell what is really good for you—and what isn’t.

This is why it is so important to read the nutrition label on the back of everything you eat—after all, these labels are there for a reason.

Reading your nutrition label is about more than just looking at calories and fat, it is about understanding what you are really putting in your body. Take a look at these tips on what to look for on nutrition labels so you can start making healthier decisions for yourself.

Servings Per Package

So many people simply flip the nutrition label over to see how many calories are in what they are eating and while this is important, it isn’t the only thing to look for, and it isn’t as simple as the number you see on the back.

It can be easy to flip over a granola bar and read there are “100 Calories” per serving, but remember that doesn’t necessarily mean there is just one serving in what you are eating. Pay close attention to the small number next to calories to see how many servings are actually in the item you are eating—you may be surprised by how many servings are in a small package and how quickly that hundred calorie snack can multiply.

Sugar

Just because the food you are eating doesn’t taste sweet, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t full of sugars. Foods that are filled with sugar may have calories in them, but chances are they don’t have any essential nutrients. Plus, sugar can take a serious toll on your health. An easy way to tell how much sugar is really in what you are eating is to make sure that added sugars are not listed in the first few ingredients.

There are many names for added sugars as well including different types of “syrups” and “sweeteners” or anything that ends with “ose” such as sucrose, glucose or fructose.

Focus on the Type of Fats

Not all fats are bad fats, which is why it is so important to know the difference between the different types of fats that are out there. There are good fats such as the polyunsaturated and the monounsaturated fats that you find in fish, nuts and healthy oils.

However, when you flip the label over, make sure to look for the bad fats like trans fat, cholesterol and saturated fats.

Here at Continuum Internal Medicine, it is our goal to help our patients stay as healthy as possible from the inside out and we know that this all starts with a healthy diet and lifestyle. If you have questions about dietary decisions or what to look for on any nutrition label—feel free to schedule and appointment with us today. Give us a call at 817-617-8650 .

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