UNDERSTANDING FOOD LABELS by Donna Hayek

LABEL READING:

  • Check out the ingredient list.  The smaller the better.  If there are words that you can’t pronounce, then it signals a processed food, which is not healthy and usually contains excessive amounts of sodium.

 

  • Next, look at the label:
    • Serving size- used for 1 serving for the entire label.  If consuming 2 servings, then account for double the calories, fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbs, fiber, protein, etc.
    • Calories- let’s use 2000 per day (Go to calculator.net- use BMR calculator- to figure out how many calories you should consume daily)
    • Total fat- 20%-35% per day= 44-77 grams/day
    • Saturated fat- should be <10% of calories for the day =20 grams per day.
    • Trans fat should be zero or very minimal
    • Cholesterol- less than 300 mg per day.
    • Sodium- less than 2300 mg/day or less than 1500/day with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, kidney disease, or over 51 years of age.
    • Total carbs- 40%-50% of total calories daily= 200-250 grams/day
    • Dietary Fiber- 25-35 grams/day
    • Carbs to Fiber Ratio should be 10:1
    • Sugars- less than 25 grams/day for women and less than 36 grams/day for men
    • Protein- 15%-30% of calories per day = 75-150 grams/day

 

  • There will never be a “perfect” label, so as close as possible would be sufficient. If you have diabetes, then looking at the carbs would be important, if you have heart disease, then the fat, cholesterol, and sodium would be important. If you have any gastrointestinal disorders, then fiber would be most important. If you want to build muscle, then protein would be important to you.