How to read nutrition labels

Read nutrition labelIt seems to be significant to understand food labels on products so that you could know what you are buying. Below are descriptions of main nutrition categories.

Size of serving

The serving size is a critical number. Normally, the nutritional information on the label refers to one serving. Every time look how many servings one pack contains. It refers to all ingredients value.

For instance, it is said on one bag of potato chips that it has 150 calories per serving, in total there can be 3 servings in a bag and the overall value is 450 calories.

Daily Value Percent

The calculation is made for a fairly sedentary man or a moderately active woman, who consumes 2,000 calories a day. (More active women and men as well as growing teen-agers may need about 2,500 calories a day).

E.g. Cheerios (a serving) with ? cup of skim milk gives the adult 3% of the daily value of fat consumption and 11% of fiber required according to USDA (the U.S. Department of Agriculture) recommendations.


Total fat content is not as important as its type – polyunsaturated, saturated or trans. Choose product with more polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat rather than saturated and trans fat. Remember that fat-free is not the same as calorie-free. Sugar is often added to the so called fat-free products.


Cholesterol is a chemical similar to fat. It is found in cell membranes and nervous fibers. Cholesterol can be found only in animal products. The daily consumption limitation for adults is 300 mg. If more – cholesterol accumulates in blood and heart disease risk raises.


2,300 mg of sodium is a daily recommended limit for adults. According to USDA the food is considered low in sodium when it contains maximum of 140 mg. An average soup often contains 1,000 mg of sodium which is about half the daily recommended intake.


The daily advised intake of sodium is 4,700 mg for adults to prevent high blood pressure. Irregular heat beat can be the result of low potassium content in food.

Total Carbohydrate

Carbs are found in everything made of whole grains called healthy carbohydrates and sugar (unhealthy carbs). Be more cautious with sugar.

Dietary Fiber

As for fiber the daily consumption for the average adult should be 21 – 35 g. But most people eat less of fiber.

When you choose bread and cereals take one which has at least 3 g in a serving. Fibers can be soluble and insoluble. The body needs both. Barley, oatmeal and dried beans present soluble fiber which is good for balancing cholesterol level.

Insoluble fiber is found in fruit and veg skins and whole grains. It helps protect bowel disorders and promotes digestion.


Glucose, fructose, dextrose and galactose are simple carbohydrates and they a poor in nutritional value. Sugar can be found in crackers, salad dressings and even in cereals. It is often a flavor additive to low-fat products.


The daily norm is 45 g of protein per 1 pound of body weight no matter how active your lifestyle is. High consumption of protein is a common habit for most Americans. Only some of them keep to a normal diet.

Vitamins and Minerals

Here we speak about those minerals and vitamins which are contained in products naturally not in the form of additives. The percentage of daily value is also calculated for a diet with 2,000 calories a day.


When you read the list of ingredients note, that first come those which are the major ones. When you buy bread, for example, the first line must be whole wheat, oats or other grain.

Supplemental Vitamins and Minerals

At the end of the list you will find supplemental ingredients added by the manufacturer to the food.


The exchange information is designated for people with diabetes. There are certain food groups in food-exchange system.

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