Get the Facts!
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Get the Facts!

Do you know what is in your food? You see it on all packaged food items. It's a box with information about the food you are about to eat.  It's a nutrition label.  For quite a few people, it is a mystery. For others, it is something more to read in the grocery store. If you want to eat healthier, there is information in this label that will help you. Get the facts. They may surprise you.

This handy label was instituted in 1990 by the FDA to help us as consumers know what nutritional content of our food is.  It contains the serving size, caloric value and what nutrients and percentages are in the food you intend to eat.  It also has a contents list of ingredients as well as the possible content of common allergens.Now for any company to label their food as gluten-free, it must be 20ppm or less. You will see that here as well. We can use this label to our advantage.

How can this help you if you are trying to lose weight or get healthier? With the serving size information, we are able to find out what measure is used.  For example, a container of yogurt may tell you 1 container or 760 grams.  If you grab your food scale, you can weigh out how much a serving size is. If you are using two containers in a recipe the calorie and nutrition info would be multiplied by 2. But if you use 1/2 a container, you can be exact by weighing out 380 grams and know what your calorie count is. On that same label, you will also learn how many calories come from fat and whether it is saturated or unsaturated fats. It also includes carbohydrate grams, and other nutrients pertinent to your health. That would be important to know if you are trying to reduce your fat and/or intake for weight loss or keep saturated fats low for heart health.You would be surprised how helpful this info is!

Weight loss means calories spent should be greater than the calories consumed. Since the caloric value is based on a 2000 calorie diet, it may not be valuable to consider the percentages of each nutrient for you.  Some people need to take in fewer calories than 2,000 while others, say athletes, need more. If you know how many calories you need per day, this information will help you stay within your limit. This information relates to the Daily Value based on the 2,000 calories.

This handy label tells you about the vitamins and minerals included. the" IU " is International Units. This is helpful if you need to take more of some into your diet. Minerals such as calcium has a recommended intake for different populations.  So if I have a client with osteoporosis who needs to take in more calcium, she would pay attention to the calcium and vitamin D percentages to consume and/or supplement to the doctor's specifications while adding strategic weight lifting to her workouts. The vitamins and minerals contained in this yogurt are different than what is contained in a package of rice cakes. If someone with cancer needs to watch for certain nutrients that could cause problems with medications, the nutrition label is a great resource.

Another way this information helps is to know what other nutrients are in that container of yogurt such as carbohydrates for someone who has diabetes needing to count carbs for insulin usage, for example.My younger daughter uses it to calculate how much insulin to inject in relationship to the carb intake for type 1 diabetes. Another use would be knowing the sodium count for someone who needs to watch how much due to water retention in the body, high blood pressure, and other health conditions that warrant strict sodium reduction.  This information is a lifesaver for many people.

When you are in the grocery store, start reading! Get the most from your food with this handy label. Know the facts.

May God bless you!


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