Did you know Nutrition labels are like ninjas?
Not the good kind either. They can be sneaky and silently feeding you way more calories than you thought you were devouring. Maybe it’s time we really learn how to understand nutrition labels.
As if the balance between eating right and exercising isn’t hard enough, you also have to stand on your own when it comes to decoding nutrition labels.
Most nutrition labels give nutrient information for an entire container broken down into servings. If you aren’t careful you will be led to believe that the nutrition of the entire container is what its showing you. Nope, super sneaky ninja label is showing you the nutrition information for one single serving within the container!
Watch Out! Nutrition Labels Can be Lethal to Your Waistline
United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service
Make sure you check out the serving size before you eat 8 servings worth of nutrients by mistake. If you are in doubt check it out. The United States does have a website where you can look up all the different foods you are eating. So if you are eating something without a label you can still get answers.
Looking Up Your Food
Of course, this isn’t practical all the time. I suggest finding out the foods you eat often so at least you have a pretty good idea about the foods you put in your body all the time. So if you eat an apple a day, you know exactly what that apple equals in energy and calories for your body. US Dept. of Agriculture Food Nutrients List
What to Look For
Once you are at the site take a look at:
Calories – too many calories will have an adverse effect on your waistline.
Fat –helps provide energy and maintains brain and nerve function.
Carbohydrates – are your body’s main energy source and they also protect your muscles.
Fiber – helps your body absorb all the good stuff (vitamins and minerals) and helps your poo stay regular.
Protein – is used to help your body build and repair its tissues. Protein is also used to make enzymes and hormones.
Sugar – too much sugar can throw your body out of whack.
Ingredients – Food allergies can be very hazardous to your health. All food items list each ingredient that makes up the finish product you consume. So if you or a loved one suffers from allergies pay close attention to food labels.
Your main players are going to be fat, carbohydrates, and protein.
You want a good mix of these in a healthy diet.
In a typical diet you will eat the most carbohydrates, then protein, and last fat.
If all of your food leans toward just one nutrient you are going to run into problems and your body may feel a little wonky because it isn’t getting the variety of vitamins and minerals it needs. You need some variety in your diet.
Calories on a Nutrition Label
Calories are also important in a sense. No matter what, if you are taking in way more calories than you are regularly burning off you are going to gain weight. Plain and Simple. It doesn’t matter whether it’s carrots or candy bars, consume too many calories and they are gonna hang on and cause weight gain. Know your calorie restrictions to keep from gaining weight.
You can count all the calories you eat by tallying up the calories on your nutrition labels for the day. Make sure you are counting the calories for the actual servings you consumed.
Don’t forget your beverages which can really add on calories! If you aren’t doing this I suggest checking out how many calories are in a McDonald’s Sweet Tea for a major eye opener!
Want to really make a go of calorie counting? I designed a Free Food Diary Printable for your use. Print it out and make a few copies. Use it to record everything you eat and any nutrition information you want to track!
Nutrition Labels are a Gold Mine
Nutrition labels have all kinds of valuable information. Take what you need and leave the rest. I don’t suggest trying to track everything you will drive yourself bananas.
- If your doctor has suggested you keep your sodium or sugar levels within certain limits, you can find the information on a nutrition label. Sodium and sugar must be tracked by some to keep specific health concerns like diabetes in check.
- Want to know how much calcium you are getting a day to keep your bones strong? Check out the labels on your food. There are several common vitamins and minerals that are shown on food labels.
- Potty Problems? If your poo is weighing you down, you might want to find out how much fiber is in your diet. You guessed it, the amount of fiber in a food item is also listed on its label. Aim for more fiber and water if you are feeling a bit stopped up.
After you learn how to read a nutrition label like a pro use your new knowledge to shop for nutritious foods like an expert. Knowing what you are really putting in your body is a real eye opener and can really help you meet your weight loss and nutrition goals.
If you know someone else who may be struggling to make sense of nutrients in food please pin to your Pinterest boards and share the love. Xoxo, Cynthia