Wednesday, May 11, 2011

5 Label Reading Steps at a QUICK Glance

There is so much confusion out there with food labels.  Let's just break it down to a "momma has little time level."  
Step 1 - ALWAYS ALWAYS look at the serving size & amount of servings in the container first!  If there are 2 servings in the container, such as the example below, you will need to double everything in the food label because the amounts listed are the "Amounts Per Serving."
Step 2 - To keep your fat intake in check, there's a rule of thumb to follow: For every 100 calories, you need to have 3 or less grams of fat (this keeps your fat intake to 30% or below for you math analyzers out there).   So...  100 calories - <3
                             200 calories - <6
                             300 calories - <9
You just add on 3 more grams of fat every time you add on 100 calories.
Take a look at the label below.  It has 250 calories, so the fat SHOULD BE around 7-8 grams. (200 calories is <6 and 300 calories is <9 so 250 is stuck right in the middle, this is how I got the 7-8grams).  Does this product have 7-8 grams of fat in it???  NO.  It has 12 - WAY MORE than the allowed 7-8 grams)!
So, this product is too high in fat!  AVOID PURCHASING IT!

Step 3 - Go HIGH on fiber, and LOW on sugar!  If there is fruit or milk in the product, these will show up as "sugar" on the food label because they have a natural sugar in them (fructose for fruit and lactose for milk).
Step 4 - Take a look at the ones in light yellow above - Total Fat, Saturated Fat, Cholesterol, & Sodium
Now take a look at the % to the right of them that is in the purple.  The GOAL is to keep these as close to 5% as possible!  The closer to 20%, the higher the risk of heart disease, diabetes, & obesity.
Step 5 - Take a glance at the "Ingredients list" which is usually placed near the food label on a package. If there are words in it that you can't pronounce, it would be wise to leave that package on the shelf!    Avoid disease causing/hormone imbalancing ingredients such as: asparatame, nitrate/nitrite, high fructose corn syrup & colored dyes.

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