Bookmark Website  | Free Registration  | The Team
The Lounge  | Champions  | The Wire |  Schedule |  Audio  |  Arcade  |  The Top Ten  |  Historical  |  Email  |  Video

The 9 Most Common Mistakes to Avoid When Reading a Food Label


Nutrients

Fat, Sugar, Sodium and Carbohydrate

The sections on a food label shows the name of a nutrient and theamount of that nutrient provided by one serving of food. You mayneed to know this information, especially if you have high bloodpressure, diabetes or are eating a diet that restricts certainnutrients such as sodium or carbohydrates.

Food labels also include information about how much sugar andprotein is in the food. If you are following a low-sugar diet oryou're monitoring your protein intake, it's easy to spot how muchof those nutrients are contained in one serving.

Vitamins, Minerals and Other Information

The light purple part of the label lists nutrients, vitamins andminerals in the food and their percent daily values. Try toaverage 100% DV every day for vitamins A and C, calcium, iron andfiber. Do the opposite with fat, saturated fat, sodium andcholesterol. Try to eat less than 100% DV of these.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Reading a Food Label

Until you become accustomed to reading food labels, it's easy tobecome confused. Avoid these common mistakes when readinglabels:

-A label may say that the food is reduced fat or reduced sodium.That means that the amount of fat or sodium has been reduced by25% from the original product. It doesn't mean, however, that thefood is low in fat or sodium. For example, if a can of souporiginally had 1,000 milligrams of sodium, the reduced sodiumproduct would still be a high-sodium food.

-Don't confuse the % DV for fat with the percentage of caloriesfrom fat. If the % DV is 15% that doesn't mean that 15% of thecalories comes from fat. Rather, it means that you're using up15% of all the fat you need for a day with one serving (based ona meal plan of 2,000 calories per day).

-Don't make the mistake of assuming that the amount of sugar on alabel means that the sugar has been added. For example, milknaturally has sugar, which is called lactose. But that doesn'tmean you should stop drinking milk because milk is full of otherimportant nutrients including calcium.

Reading Label Lingo

In addition to requiring that packaged foods contain a NutritionFacts label, the FDA also regulates the use of phrases and termsused on the product packaging. Here's a list of common phrasesyou may see on your food packaging and what they actually mean.

No fat or fat free - Contains less than 1/2 gram of fat perserving Lower or reduced fat: Contains at least 25 percent lessper serving than the reference food. (An example might be reducedfat cream cheese, which would have at least 25 percent less fatthan original cream cheese.)

Low fat - Contains less than 3 grams of fat per serving.

Lite - Contains 1/3 the calories or 1/2 the fat per serving ofthe original version or a similar product.

No calories or calorie free - Contains less than 5 calories perserving.

Low calories - Contains 1/3 the calories of the original versionor a similar product.

Sugar free - Contains less than 1/2 gram of sugar per serving.

Reduced sugar - at least 25% less sugar per serving than thereference food.

No preservatives - Contains no preservatives (chemical ornatural).

No preservatives added - Contains no added chemicals to preservethe product. Some of these products may contain naturalpreservatives.

Low sodium - Contains less than 140 mgs of sodium per serving.

No salt or salt free - Contains less than 5 mgs of sodium perserving.

High fiber - 5 g or more per serving (Foods making high-fiberclaims must meet the definition for low fat, or the level oftotal fat must appear next to the high-fiber claim).

Good source of fiber - 2.5 g to 4.9 g. per serving.

More or added fiber - Contains at least 2.5 g more per servingthan the reference food.

With a little practice, you will be able to put your new foundknowledge about food labeling to work. Reassess your diet anddecide what needs to be changed. Start by eliminating the foodsthat don't measure-up to your nutritional wants and needs, andreplacing them with more nutritional substitutes.

And while you're at it, visit the FDA website and learn about thenew labeling requirements, including those for "trans" fat. Likesaturated fats, trans fats can raise levels of low-densitylipoproteins (LDL) and increase your risk of heart disease. The"Nutrition Facts" panel on food packaging must provide thisinformation beginning January 1, 2006, but most manufacturerswill start providing it sooner.

The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to medically diagnose, treat or cure any disease. Consult a health care practitioner before beginning any health care program.

Emily Clark is editor at Lifestyle Health News and Medical Health News where you can find the most up-to-date advice and information on many medical, health and lifestyle topics.


MORE RESOURCES:

The Daily Collegian Online

Alumna rocks out to nutrition education all over the world
The Daily Collegian Online
People from all corners of the globe rock out to the world's only rock 'n' roll nutrition show, made possible by a Penn State alumna. Jill Jayne, Class of 2004, graduated with degrees in nutrition and theater, and her casts travel the world informing ...



USDA.gov (press release) (blog)

Celebrate National Nutrition Month with MyPlate at School!
USDA.gov (press release) (blog)
In honor of National Nutrition Month®, MyPlate is sharing resources to help you bite into a healthy lifestyle everywhere you go! This blog highlights resources for encouraging a healthy lifestyle in the classroom. Learn about healthy eating at home ...



Nutrition is key to inhibit age-related changes
Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Although many know that good nutrition is beneficial to long-term health, it is not always appreciated how much poor nutrition contributes to common changes that occur in aging. To a large extent, good nutrition status can prevent or at least slow down ...



Boston.com (blog)

Are Eggs the Nutrition Comeback Kid?
Boston.com (blog)
Joan Salge Blake, MS, RD, LDN, is a clinical associate professor and registered dietitian at Boston University in the Nutrition Program. She writes on healthy eating, one bite at a time. Share; Comment. hardboiledegg.jpg. What's not to love about them?



Huffington Post

A Nutrition Prescription for a Healthier America
Huffington Post
Good nutrition is an important protective factor against obesity and the preventable diseases associated with this condition. Proper nutrition is also essential for children's growth and development. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle by eating right and ...
Nutrition scientist, registered dietitian urges Secretaries to reconsider ...Dairy Herd Management
NAMI Argues For Scientific Evidence As Foundation Of Nutrition PolicyPerishableNews (press release) (registration)
NCBA Nutrition Scientist urges US officials to reconsider flawed ...New Food (press release)

all 18 news articles »


Utica Observer Dispatch

3-day event teaches kids about science, nutrition
Utica Observer Dispatch
The three-day event teaches children how science and nutrition play an important role in daily lives. Susan Sady from Susan's Cooking School in Utica Monday demonstrated various cooking techniques while emphasizing the science behind each item that ...



Detroit Free Press

A bite of good advice for National Nutrition Month
Detroit Free Press
While experts say you should eat a healthy diet year-round, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics designates March as National Nutrition month. The monthlong designation was launched in 1973 and each year has a theme. This year's theme, "Bite into a ...

and more »


Wadena Pioneer Journal

Students learn about nutrition, fitness and more at middle-school health fair
Wadena Pioneer Journal
Wadena-Deer Creek fifth- and sixth-graders learned about fitness, nutrition and healthy living at a health fair held March 18 in the WDC Middle/High School gym. Advertisement. Video; Print. Mayville State University. Completely Online, Accelerated RN ...

and more »


Chia seeds deliver a nutritional boost, but they're not for everybody
Yahoo News
Tiny “superfood” chia seeds are being mixed into dozens of food products—cereals, snack bars, yogurt, and drinks—just to name a few. These little black and white gems, which come from a plant (Salvia hispanica) in the mint family, are pretty nutritious.

and more »


Nutrition is the fuel to success
The Ranger
Eating a healthful breakfast and choosing smart snacks will help students to fuel up their brains for a successful semester from beginning to end, said Eleanor Skelley, a biology professor who teaches nutrition at Palo Alto College. Students who have a ...


Google News


Advertisement



Section Site Map - Submit News - Feedback - Comments - Advertise with Us

Copyright © 2006 Luminati Inc. All rights reserved.