How to Read a Nutrition Label

Today, the United States is forced to face the increasing issue of obesity. The rate of obesity has increased substantially in recent years and threatens the lives of many. This obesity increase leads to extreme and serious health concerns including the increased risk of strokes, hypertension, diabetes, breathing problems, and even heart attacks. With such an issue running rampant, it is a vital and simple task that everyone should do, and that is to read the nutrition label on food.

In terms of how a nutritional label is laid out, the first thing everyone should look for is the serving information, which can be located on the very top of the label. This information explains what constitutes a single serving of the food, and allows for portion control, a vital aspect to nutrition. Keep in mind that however many servings you eat, the numbers below will increase in multiples of this number.

The second thing that needs to be checked is the number of calories within the food. This will be below the serving information, under “amount per serving”. It is important to recognize that this number is in fact per serving, which will multiply with each serving eaten. 

The third items you will see are the nutrient contents; these are calculated both in grams (g), as well as in percentage of daily intake according to a 2000 calorie-a-day diet. Look for low measures of sodium, and saturated or trans fats.

Finally, you should scan the healthier nutrients, for example, calcium, the many vitamins (A, B, C etc.), and iron. These should be maximized, though still managed within reason in proportion with your diet.

With these steps, nutrition labels don’t have to be logic puzzles, food content doesn’t have to be mystery, and health doesn’t have to be left to “fingers crossed”.

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