Beginner’s Guide: How to Read Nutrition Labels

It’s funny to think that you wanted to lose weight instantly without compromising your “love-affair” with chips. So, you go out to buy in you local grocery store a bag of “NO + (insert-nutrient-here)” chips. Then you are so happy you bought your favorite JUNK FOOD – with the thought that you will not gain a single pound from a “fat-free” bag of potato chips. Well, you’ll just end up eating a whole bag of manufactured AIR! Tough luck! 😛

This is probably what your subconscious mind is telling you. Haha!

In order to solve this “I want to lose weight so bad but I want to eat too!” problem, we should all check the Nutritional label – it was placed there for a purpose and I find it very handy when I’m “obsessively” counting my calories. Haha! It’s very easy to do and it must become a habit! Why? because it could help you make HEALTHIER choices the next time you bother to buy food.

Alright. Let the mental math begin!

SERVING SIZE – You need to know the measurement of food that is being presented to you. Always check the SERVINGS PER CONTAINER because this is where you’ll be lured into buying a product when you see less calories.

CALORIES PER SERVING – This I am very particular with. Compare it with your serving size. You may think that a pack of low fat chips have 200 calories per serving but what you might miss is that there are 3 servings per container. Because you failed to check the label again, you had 600 crazy calories instead of what you thought to be 200. See? Calories per serving is multiplied to the number of servings per container to give you an estimate.

FAT –  Check for saturated, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, and trans fat. You should expect to buy food that contains little saturated fat and trans fat, and more polyunsaturated and monounsaturated. “Fat Free” is not always “Calorie Free”

CHOLESTEROL – Too much might elevate your blood cholesterol, raising your heart-disease risk. Stick to less than 300mg/day

SODIUM – Too much sodium can cause high blood pressure! Eat less than 1500mg of added sodium per day. Please! haha!

TOTAL CARBOHYDRATES – This is a simple rule:  if it contains ingredients such as sugar or fructose corn syrup with high values, let it go and find something else!

FIBER – The higher the number the better. Look for  those with 3 grams or more per serving.

SUGAR – Low numbers are the way to go.

PROTEINS, VITAMINS, and INGREDIENTS –  Look for labels without enriched flour, hydrogenated oils, artificial flavors and colors, and refined sugars.

And to make things easier for everyone, here’s a general tip:

  • “Free” – the food has the LEAST possible amount of the specified nutrient.
  • “Very Low” and “Low” – the food has A LITTLE MORE THAN foods labeled “Free.”
  • “Reduced” or “Less” – the food has 25% LESS of a specific nutrient than the regular version of the food.

Hope this helps! Ciao! 🙂


4 thoughts on “Beginner’s Guide: How to Read Nutrition Labels

  1. If it tastes too good, it can’t possibly be part of your diet plan. I mean is anyone telling the truth when they say they like fat-free yogurt better than rich, creamy ice cream?
    But to your point, nutritional labels are helpful…to a point.
    btw–found your blog through Aisha’s Scrapyard and so glad I did!

  2. Hmm it appears like your site ate my first comment (it was super long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I had written and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying
    your blog. I too am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new to the whole thing. Do you have any tips for newbie blog writers? I’d genuinely appreciate

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