NUTRITION LABEL IMPORTANCE
The nutrition label is the most important label on a food package. Always check the number of grams per serving of carbohydrates, calories, fats, and sugars. Then check the serving size and servings per container, as the serving size may be smaller than you realize. For example, one box of pudding has 4 servings. Each serving has 90 calories, and 24 carbohydrate grams. This is “as packaged.” When you add the milk to the mix, the calories for one serving become 150.
This is an extremely important point, for individuals who need to count calories or carbohydrates for health reasons, such as diabetics and dieters. It is vital for those with digestive problems or food allergies to read the ingredients. If they have a reaction to a food product such as gluten, eggs, milk, nuts, berries, food additives or food dyes, they need to ascertain there are none in a particular product, before eating it.
The next important part of the nutrition facts, would be the ingredients. Ingredients are listed by amount in the container, in descending order. Should sugar be the first ingredient, then the food is mostly sugar. According to Dr. Oz, of T.V. fame, if the list of ingredients is too long, or you can’t pronounce them, maybe you should think about what you are eating.
Many preservatives, dyes, anti-clogging agents, and thickening agents are added to foods. Others, like canned tomatoes have few added ingredients, just tomatoes, spices, and critic acid. Many processed foods add vitamins to fortify the food. All additives are listed, by amount in the box, as well.
INGREDIENTS IN FLAVORED FOODS
Flavored foods have spices, plus added ingredients. A container of Dirty Rice Mix contains two kinds of rice, vitamins, dehydrated vegetables, salt, yeast extract, sugar (dextrose), soy sauce, preservative, MSG, coloring, flow agent, and silicon dioxide. The serving size is 3 TBS. at 130 calories, and 29 carbohydrate grams.
SUGARS, FATS, AND DAILY VALUES
Be aware sugars end in “ose.” Dextrose, maltose, sucrose, glucose, fructose, and ribose are all sugars. If these are near the top of the ingredients, then sugar is a main ingredient. The label will also list total fat, saturated fat, and trans-fat. They should not be near the top of the list either. The percent of daily value or DV, based on a 2000 calories per day, is listed to the side of the grams.
KNOW WHAT YOU EAT
Many processed foods have little nutritional value. The way to find out is to read the Nutrition Facts and ingredients. If the contents are mostly sugar, carbohydrates, fats, sodium, or unknown ingredients, don’t buy it. They are often empty calories with no nutritional value.