Not everyone has the same knowledge base when it comes to nutrition. Let’s start with the basics. How to read a nutrition label. There are several important pieces of information on a nutrition label. Chief among them is calories. A calorie is simply a unit of measure for the energy the food provides. Always be aware of the calories per serving. The packaging may say “only 150 calories per serving”. Well you flip the package over to the nutrition label you find that it’s 150 calories PER SERVING, and there are four servings making that package of food really 600 calories. Be on the look out for this trick!
A weight loss strategy is primarily focused on reducing the amount of calories you take in. Now you need calories for your body to burn in order to work. It isn’t enough to just reduce the number of calories you need to focus on the quality of the calories. A small order of french fries could be 150 calories, but where are the nutrients. A diet soda is 0 calories, but there are no nutrients involved. The next part of the label I look at is the ingredients. I actually look at ingredients first. It is required by law that the label include the ingredients. The ingredients are listed in order of quantity. Meaning this package is made up primarily of wheat (if that’s first). Juices are a great example of reading ingredient list. If it’s 100% juice there should be no other ingredient except water, if water is added. We’ll talk about ingredients to avoid.
The next part to look at nutritional value. Total fat (saturated, unsaturated, trans fat), cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates and protein are standard measured values. Not to worry, I’ll break down what all of that means to you in later posts. Another part of the nutritional value is the list of vitamins and minerals. Vitamins A and C, iron, niacin, calcium, etc. are commonly listed.
These are the quick basics of reading a label. It really isn’t very hard. New black chicks will take time to practice reading the labels to make sure they don’t get hit with the tricky trick calorie/serving. We’ll also explore what you should and should not be putting in your bodies – and how it’s hidden in the label. Also we’ll discuss the difference between real food and processed/packaged food. In a nutshell – real food grows out of the ground or is killed, it doesn’t have nutrition labels (in the same way).
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