Always Read the Ingredients Label
By Sara Butler
Every single packaged food you buy has a nutrition label. How often do you look at it? If it's not every time, then you have some work to do. Understanding the ingredients of the foods you eat is crucial to making healthy choices. Plus, checking out the nutritional information on food labels allows you to compare different brands to find out which is the right choice for your healthy eating goals. Here are a few reasons why you should always read the ingredients of the foods you buy -- or put back on the shelf.
The Nutrition Label Provides Key Info
You'll find everything from serving size to total fat to vitamins and protein on the nutrition label -- and understanding those breakdowns is important! The label also lists ingredients, which can help you avoid certain things or add more of others (hello whole grains) to your diet.
It Helps You Rein It In
Most Americans have too much saturated fat, sugar, and sodium in their diets. One way to cut down on all three? Read the nutrition label!
When you check the label, you see how much of each of those things are in the foods you're choosing. It's recommended to keep your intake of sugar and saturated fat down to less than 15 percent of your daily calories. You're also supposed to have less than 2,300 milligrams of salt per day. How can you keep track? If you said by reading the nutrition label, you're right!
Your Diet Can Improve
Most Americans don't get the right amount of nutrients in their daily diet. For example, do you get 25 grams of fiber per day? Do you know which foods are high in fiber? The nutrition label can help you to figure that out. You'll be on your way to more fiber, and other key nutrients before you know it!
How to Get the Most
Think about your nutrition goals and determine what you want to do for your health first, then figure out how food labels can help you with those goals. If you're trying to maintain a healthy weight, for example, then you should choose nutrient-dense foods that don't have a ton of calories per serving. You can easily see how many calories are in each serving size and make decisions to help meet your goals accordingly.
There are many benefits to taking the time to read the nutrition information, so don't skip it!
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