There are four things that you need to look out for when you are reading nutrition labels. Being able to understand what you are actually seeing on a nutritional label will help you make more educated decisions when it comes to buying packaged foods.
Now, these are things that you need to make sure that you are keeping an eye out, and you will be surprised that I am not going to say calories. The first thing that so many people will look at when reading a nutrition label is how many calories it packs. I don’t want you to be a counting calorie slave. My goal in this blog is to help you make a better decision in your purchasing habits by being able to understand these four different components, which I will share with you right now.
1. The ingredients
When looking at a nutrition label, you have to ask yourself:
- what is the first major ingredient that makes up this product?
- Are these ingredients that you can understand and know exactly what it is?
- Are there any hidden names for sugar?
For example, Justin’s Peanut butter cup is something that can be found at Whole Foods. Now, the packaging and the way it is marketed seems like it is a better option for a healthy treat. But check out the first ingredients; it is all sugar. It is simply a candy bar, it is simply a Reece’s pieces candy bar disguised as a healthy organic treat. Make sure you are reading those ingredients and making sure you are eating real foods and eliminating sugars.
2. Check out the macronutrients.
Once the ingredients are FitLIFE approved, then we can move on to counting our macros.
- What is the ratio between carbs, fat, and protein?
- Is what you are eating going to fit into your macros?
- What macronutrient does this product fulfill?
For example, when you are getting raw almonds, a lot of people think you are getting a good source of protein from almonds. But, what they don’t understand is, that yes they are getting some food sources or proteins, but almonds is a majority of a fat. So if you intake a ton of almonds, you are in taking a ton of fat, and does that fit into your macros? Usually, it will, but if you eat a couple of handfuls — you might be going a little overboard.
3. Sugar Intake
How much sugar does this pack? According to the American Heart Association; the maximum amount of added sugars you should eat in a day are for men, 150 calories per day, or 37.5 grams. And women, 100 calories per day or 25 grams.
For example, this LARABAR is a great option for a processed food that has real ingredients. So if you are in a bind and need something quick; a LARABAR is a great resource. But, you do want to keep track of your sugar intake, because LARABARS do pack in a lot of sugars, even though it does come real fruit, you just want to be careful of your added sugar intake.
4. How many servings?
Now the nutrition label shows you how many macros, calories and sugar content is in one serving. So if there is more than one serving, you have to double all of those things; the macros, the calories, and the sugar. So be careful not to go overboard with your servings, and using your best judgment. Because sometimes our best judgment is flawed depending on how hungry we are.
For example, a KIND granola has 1/3 cup per serving. It packs a ton of carbs and it you were not being careful, it is easy to pour out a lot more than a third of a cup. So make sure that you are being of that and not over consuming too much of any ingredient or food.