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Reading Labels

Reading labels is an essential part of any weight loss program. Being able to clearly identify key components of a food item is vital to the success of your diet. You have to be careful when you read the label and be extremely thorough. Labels are placed on food items because it is required by law. Marketers are forced to display this information but it does not keep them being tricky about it.

Lets take a look at a sample label.

See here we have the Serving Size of the food item. First we have the Serving Size which is 1 oz. or 28 grams. Then there is the Servings Per Container which is 16. This is where you have to be careful. On small items like a bag of chips or cookies, people tend to skip this part of the label and go straight to the Amount Per Serving Section. This where you will kill yourself. Most small items have a Servings per container with more then 1. They usually have 2 or even 2 1/2 servings per container. Not being aware of this, people do not correctly calcuate the Nutrition Facts for that item. When they think they are eating 200 calories in reality they are eating 400 or even 500 calories.

Next thing to look at is Calories and Calories from fat. Most people only look at the total calories. Here we see that this item has 190 calories. Not alot of calories. But here is the killer. Calories from fat is a whopping 150. Making this item over 80% fat. A big misconception of people who read labels is, there is not a lot of saturated fat becasue the lablel says only 2grams of saturated fat. Wrong, there is another 15 grams of fat. Where does this come from? My best guess is that about another 10 -13 grams of fat are trans fat which is the fat responsible for obesisty.

Next we see the % Daily Value. This is recommended daily allowance set by the FDA. This item has a total of 25% fat inregards to your recommened dailiy aloowance. That means that is you eat 4 of these food items, your fat intake would have to be cut off for the rest of the day.

Another item we should look @ is Total Carboydrates. This is the evil demon among low-carb dieters. The FDA's recommended daily allowance for carb intake is around 330 grams per day. There are good carbs and bad carbs. The bad carbs would be considered Sugars. In this case there is only 1g of sugar and 3 g of Dietary Fiber. In regards to carb intake this is a good product.

Then there is the protein. The more the better. Remember this fact. 1 gram of protein and carbs are the equvalient to 4 calories. 1 gram of fat is the equivalent to 9 calories. I hope this article has cleared up some issues in regards to reading labels. Any educated dieter is a successful dieter.

Joe Maresca
Senior Health & Fitness Advisor

Joe has over 15 years of health & fitness experience. He has helped numerous individuals meet their fitness goals.


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