Knowing what we are actually eating plays a huge role in our overall health and wellness, and now there is more research to prove that. A new study has shown that women who pay attention to food labels weigh, on average, 9 pounds lighter than women who do not read labels.
Although we do not recommend that people become obsessive, or count calories to maintain a healthy weight, being aware of the food that we are choosing to consume does play a large role in our wellness. Let’s take a look at the nutrition label and learn the basics of what to look for to help make the healthiest choices when buying food.
Serving Size: Always look to see how much of the product is equal to one serving. All the information that follows is assuming that you are consuming one serving of the product, which often does not mean the whole package. Take a look—you may be surprised!
Calories: As mentioned above, we do not encourage calorie counting, however, it may be helpful to have an estimate of what percentage of your daily intake this snack or food will represent—is it really worth it?
Fat: Here it will generally show the total amount of fat, and then below, break down the type of fat. Check to see what type of fat is in the product, and whether it is considered healthy fat or unhealthy fat. To learn what the healthy fats we recommend are click here
Sodium: This is an important section to look at on all products. So many packaged foods are laden with refined salt, and one serving of the product might be upwards of half or more of your recommended daily intake. Always look for a low-sodium option!
Carbohydrate: This includes the sugar! Look at the amount of sugar in the product—it is a number you want to see in the single digits when possible.
Ingredient List: By far, this is the most important piece of information on the whole package! I would advise you not to look at any of the marketing, branding, or even nutrition claims on the package, but simply read the ingredients. If you don’t know what is in it, you probably should leave it on the shelf! Also look for products with as few ingredients as possible to avoid excess sugars and additives. If you are going to read anything, make it the ingredient list!
Taking the time to look at what is in the food you are choosing is the first step to making healthier choices!