Getting to Know Your Food's Nutritional Labels
By Stephen R. Farris
Do you normally read the nutrition labels before making a decision to purchase food products? With the exception of fresh fruits, vegetables, and most fresh cut meats, nutrition labels can be seen on virtually every food product that's carried in your supermarket. Even the candy you pick up at the last second at the cash register has a nutrition label.
In the past, nutrition labels had the ingredients found in the product, how many calories per serving it contained, vitamin information, and maybe the types of cholesterol (both the healthy kind and non-healthy kind).
However, today's nutrition labels produce more information than ever before that pertain to both healthy ingredients and items that may not be good for daily nutritional health. So next time you're out shopping for items to cook for your family meal, take a little time and read what's on the label these days.
The words added sugar. In the past, nutritional labels mentioned the total amount of sugar in a product, but not the amount of added sugar from other ingredient sources. Added sugars are usually those combined with the product during the processing phase. They may include high fructose corn syrup, natural sugar from a fruit base, honey, and other syrup based additives. According to research, added sugar could be related to increased chances of developing type 2 diabetes, liver disease, heart disease, or other health-related problems. Be sure to read the label to see if the product you're purchasing contains added sugar and what the daily value (DV) you should have according to your diet.
Potassium and Vitamin D
Two micronutrients, potassium and Vitamin D, have been added to the nutritional label on food products. Depending on what the product is, these micronutrients may have a zero value/percentage because they're not part of the ingredients, or the label may show a number above zero (1-100) as a percentage mark showing how much is in the product.
Servings and Calories
While serving portions are nothing new on nutritional labels, the new ones are a little easier to read. Serving portions are now a larger font. Not just that, but more realistic serving portions now show on the labels. Calories are also printed with a larger font, making the number easier to read. Serving portions and calories are important pieces of information, especially if you're trying to control or lose weight.
There are several more changes that you may notice on nutritional labels the next time you're shopping for food. Learning to eat healthier is becoming easier these days, especially when you know what nutritional values your food contains.
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