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Nutrition Labels: Cracked

By Sara Butler

Nutrition labels are full of information that is important to your health and wellness. They're your resource for all the information you need about the foods you eat but can be confusing to read at times. Here are a few facts about the information you find on nutrition labels and what they really mean.

The Ingredients are Sorted by Weight

When you look at the ingredients list on any food label, the first ingredient is the ingredients that are more prevalent in the food by weight. This helps you understand how much of what is in the food you're buying. The farther down an ingredient is on the list, the less of it there is in the food.

It Helps You Understand Nutrition Claims

Many packaged foods advertise ingredients they contain (or don't contain) as a way to entice you to buy them. You've likely seen claims such as "low sodium," "high in fiber," and "great source of calcium" on the foods you buy -- but what do these claims mean?

You can look for yourself on the label to see how much of what nutrients are in the foods you eat. In other words, you can put these nutrition claims to the test by looking for them on the label and seeing how much of what nutrient they actually contain.

It's All Based on Serving Size

Perhaps one of the most important pieces of information on the nutrition label is the serving size. Why is it so important? Because all the nutrition information you see such as calories, fat, and fiber all tie back to the serving size. Serving sizes vary between products and it's often a much smaller portion than you may guess it to be. It can also serve as a great way to compare nutritional values between different products so you can gauge how much of which food you really need to eat to get the nutrients you want.

DV Stands for Daily Value

You may notice that all nutrition labels list the following:

  • Serving size
  • Cholesterol
  • Calories
  • Fat (both saturated and trans fat)
  • Sodium
  • Carbohydrates
  • Vitamin A
  • Fiber
  • Iron
  • Protein
  • Vitamin C
  • Sugars
  • Calcium

You will also notice "%DV" after these ingredients, which is your percentage of daily value. This is how much of each nutrient you get in a serving size of the product and how much of your daily percentage value that is. If the number is less than five, then it's a very small amount, but more than 15 means it's a pretty significant amount. This number can help you make informed food choices to help you stay healthy.

You need to use nutrition labels to your advantage in order to stay healthy. Learn more about them and you'll have them mastered in no time! 

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Aurora, Colo.

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