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Food labels tell you the nutritional content of processed foods. Reading food labels is a great habit to help you choose healthier food options by comparing different items. It’s a must step if you want to eat healthy. Here is what you need to know to get you started:
1. The Serving Size
Pay attention to the number of servings in the food package. Ask yourself: "How many servings am I consuming"?
2. The Calories
Tell you how much energy you get from one serving. Eating too many calories per day is linked to overweight and obesity.Keep this in mind:40 Calories is low, 100 Calories is moderateand400 Calories or more is high.
3. Nutrients to Limit
- Fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium: Eating too much increase your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and some cancers. Keep your intake as low as possible.
- Sugars: The sugars listed on the nutrition label include naturally occurring sugars (like those in fruit and milk) as well as those added to a food or drink. The new food label format will list added sugars under carbohydrates. Choose food that have none or are low in them.
4. Nutrients to Get
- Fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, iron: Eating enough of these nutrients can improve your health and help reduce the risk of some diseases and conditions.
5. Check the Ingredient List
Look for minimally processed foods with a short list of easy-to read ingredients listed first. Ingredients are listed in descending order with the largest ingredient by weight first.
Check out this interactive tool developed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to explore the various sections of the food label: www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/InteractiveNutritionFactsLabel/#intro
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