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How to Read: Food Labels

Prior to it there was not a requirement for manufacturers to give nutritional information. It was a voluntary act by the manufacturer. The standard nutrition label was finalized in 1993, and remained the same until 2016. In 2016 the Food and Drug Administration announced plans for a new version of food labels. The FDA started to incorporate these food labels on products but officially decided that they would change the food label on the majority of food products by the deadline of 2020. The food labels have a couple new changes compared to the former label.

  1. New labels will display the calories in larger bolder font

  2. Calories from fat are no longer required on the revised label.

  3. The revised label includes both total and added sugars.

  4. Vitamins A and C are no longer required on the revised label.

  5. Potassium and vitamin D have been added to the new label.

Nutrition Label displays servings per container, serving size, total calories, total fat per serving (in grams), saturated fat per serving (in grams), trans fat per serving (in grams), cholesterol (in milligrams), sodium (in milligrams), total carbohydrates (in grams), dietary fiber (in grams), total sugars, added sugars (in grams), protein (in grams), amounts, and percentage of daily value for vitamin D, calcium, iron, and potassium.

Servings per container - Number of servings of product in a package, based on the serving size listed.

Serving Size - Standardized amount of food that one is assumed to eat in one sitting.

***Note: Serving sizes are based on the amount that people generally eat in one sitting. If a serving size is 10 chips and you eat 20 chips then you have at 2 servings in one sitting. Be aware of the servings that you are eating in a sitting.

Total Calories - The total units used to measure energy of the product.

***Note: You want to balance calories depending on what you are trying to do. If you are trying to gain weight you want to be in a calorie surplus. If you are trying to lose weight you want to be in a calorie deficit. (The calorie that you see on a food package is actually a kilocalorie 1,000 calories)

Total Fat - (1 of the 3 macronutrients) - Amount of fat that is in serving.

Saturated fat per serving (in grams) - Saturated fat in serving

Trans fat per serving (in grams) - Trans fat in serving

***Note - Eating too much unhealthy fat can lead to obesity. Trans and Saturated fats unnecessarily raise the level of cholesterol in your blood to increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. Unsaturated fat can reduce high blood cholesterol levels. Kids & adults should consume about 30% of their calories from fat.

Cholesterol (in milligrams) - Amount of cholesterol in a serving

***Note: Your body makes all of the cholesterol that you need. (Its needed to make hormones, vitamin D, and substances that help you digest foods.)

Sodium (in milligrams) - Amount of sodium in a serving.

***Note: The amount of sodium can be a sign showing that the product is highly processed. Sodium in food serves as both a preservative and a flavor enhancer.

Total Carbohydrates (in grams) - (1 of the 3 macronutrients) Amount of grams of carbohydrates in a serving.

***Note: There are 3 main types of carbohydrates: starches, fiber, and sugar. Carbohydrates are our main source of energy, and help fuel the central nervous system.

Dietary fiber (in grams)- Total amount of nutrients in the diet that are not digested by gastrointestinal enzymes and fulfil an important role.

***Note: A high fiber diet can have a great impact on body weight control. Fiber contributes to satiety, and not adding on the extra calories.

Total sugars - Total amount of sugar in the food includes natural and added

Added sugars (in grams) - Amount of sugar that is not natural (If total sugar is 15 and it says it includes 8 grams of added sugar, then 7 grams of the total sugar is natural.)

***Note: Diets high in calories from added sugars can make it difficult to meet daily recommended levels of important nutrients while staying within calorie limits.

Protein (In grams) - (1 of the 3 macronutrients) Amount of protein within a serving

***Note: Amount of protein varies based on the individual’s calorie needs, activity levels, training volume, intensity, and overall health.

Percent Daily Value (Vitamin D, calcium, iron, and potassium) - Percentage of supplement that would be consumed per serving. (In relation to the general recommended 2,000 cal per day diet.)

**** Note (Vitamin A and C was replaced by vitamin D and potassium, because of how infrequent we do not consume those supplements in our diet)

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