Are You Smarter Than a Food Label?

Food labels sometimes get lost among all the information on our food products,but that doesn’t mean they aren’t important. Research suggests that people who regularly look at food labels when purchasing food make healthier choices and consume more vitamins and minerals than those who don’t. * The United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) makes it easy for us by making sure every product on the shelf has the proper label. The only exception to this rule is fresh produce, which is already a healthy choice.

 

The serving size is the first thing on the label, which gives us a standard size to compare with other products.  The serving size determines all the other numbers and percentages on the label. Be careful – sometimes the serving size is a lot less than you are actually eating and you might eat more calories and fat than you think!

 

After looking at the serving size, you can see the list of nutrients. Just taking a quick glance at the food label and following this simple rule can start you on your way towards healthier choices:

 

Less than 5% Daily Value from:

            Fat

            Saturated Fat

            Trans Fat

            Cholesterol

            Sodium

            Sugars

 

More than 20% Daily Value from:

            Potassium

            Fiber

            Vitamins A & C

            Iron

            Calcium

 

So next time you grocery shop take a minute or two to check out the food labels on your favorite products. Stay smarter than the food label!

 

(Ollberding, Nicholas Jay (05/02/2011). "Food Label Use and Its Relation to Dietary Intake among US Adults." Journal of the American Dietetic Association (0002-8223), 111 (5), p. S47)

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Jeanna Tachiki,
Sep 20, 2011, 10:16 AM
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