What’s Really in Those Food Labels?

Many people in the US today do not know how to properly read a nutrition label. If they were able to properly read a nutrition label than they might be surprised at the amount of calories they are eating or the amount salt they are in taking in. They might also be shocked to know just how small a serving size is of their favorite food.

On every food package you will find in the grocery store, there is a nutrition label on it. It is important to know what you are reading when you look at these labels.

The first thing that you will come across is the serving size. A serving size is the amount food that is considered to be a single serving. It is commonly measured in grams along with household measurements such as; cups and tablespoons.

The next thing you will find is the amount of servings in each package. You will often find that most packaged products have more than one serving in them. For example, a serving size of cereal might be ¾ of a cup but if you eat the whole box then you will have just ate 10 servings. So you will have to multiply the amount of calories by 10 to figure out the amount you have eaten.

The next thing that you will see is the amount of calories per serving and the amount of calories from fat.

Continuing to read down the line the next thing you will see are the nutrient values and the daily recommended values. This portion of information is where most of your information will come from.

Generally these items will all be listed in the same position every time. First is the total fat. Underneath the total fat will come the amount of saturated fat, polyunsaturated fat, and monounsaturated fat. Certain labels also include trans fat.

Then will come cholesterol.

The amount of salt, also known as sodium, is the next item on the list. Most the time it will be measured in milligrams and remember that 1000 mg equals 1 grams.

This will be followed up with the carbohydrates in each serving. Underneath the carbohydrates you will find the fiber and the sugar values. The sugar value that is listed contain both the sugar that is naturally occurring in the food and any added during the process of making it.

Finally you will have the protein listed.

And underneath all of these items you will be able to see the percentages of vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron that are in each serving of the food. This is mandated to be on every food label by the government, regardless if the food has any of these vitamins in them or not. If there are other nutrients in the food in any significant amount, these will also be listed at the bottom.