Do You Know How To Read Food Labels?

How important are food labels in the United States? A study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association revealed that about 62 percent of test subjects referred to the nutritional facts panel for information… and about 48 percent of participants used the serving size information as a basis when purchasing foods.

In a recent USA Today Health article, registered dietician and author of Read It Before Your Eat It: How To Decode Food Labels And Make The Healthiest Choice Every Time, Bonnie Taub-Dix reveals several tips so you can make healthier choices at the grocery store.

  • Be sure to check the serving size and calories per serving. Sometimes this can be misleading. For example: if a packaged muffin mix lists 300 calories per serving, but each serving is only half a muffin, then you’d be consuming 600 calories for one muffin.
  • Know your fats. Saturated (bad) fats come from animal products like butter, cheese and meats. Trans fats are derived from partially hydrogenated fats in shortening and margarine. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends your daily calories contain less than 7 percent of saturated fats and less than 1 percent of trans fats.
  • Fiber is your friend. To increase your intake, consume foods that contain at least 5 grams (g) of fiber per serving.
  • Sodium is hidden in nearly all packaged and processed foods. The U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends no more than 1,500 milligrams (mg) of sodium per day for those with high blood pressure.

By paying close attention to those labels and amounts, you can help cut extra calories, fat, sodium and sugar, and come away from the store with nutritious foods for you and your family.