What Is A Serving Size
Nutrition labels list the number of calories and nutrients in a standard product serving which is usually a single serving, however, often these serving sizes are unrealistic leading people to consume more than 1 serving at a time.
This is a known tactic to deceive consumers into thinking that they are eating fewer calories.
For example, some granola/cereals state the serving size is 1 cup, whereas, in reality, most people consume 2 or 3 cups.
Some people are also unaware of this serving metric which also leads to overconsumption of calories.
In order to truly know the real nutritional value of what you are eating, always multiply the serving listed by the number of servings you intend to consume or have consumed.
In Summary: A Checklist
That was a lot to take in, so heres a quick, phone-friendly checklist: take a screenshot and keep it with your shopping list, or print it out and tape it to your paper list.
- No sugar
- No wheat
- No industrial junk oils
- Net carbs within your personal limit.
- No trans fat
- Low added sugar
How To Read Labels For Sugar
It is known that most foods, especially when processed or packaged contain sugar. In fact, only in the UK two million tonnes of sugar are consumed every year. It’s important to know how to read labels for sugar, as this ingredient is not only found in apparently sweet products such as chocolate, sweets and cakes, but there are also considerable amounts of added sugars included in savory foods, especially sauces, canned food and even bread. This is due to the fact that this ingredient boosts flavors and helps preserve the products for a longer period of time.
No matter if you want to cut down on sugar for health reasons, to lose weight or because you are diabetic, at oneHOWTO we want to guide you through all the ins and outs when reading labels for sugar.
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Look For Total Sugars
This figure represents the sum total of sugars in your food. It includes both natural sugars such as fructose and lactose as well as added sugars.
Natural sugars are seldom a problem as they are in relatively small amounts and are low on the glycemic index meaning they are broken down and digested slowly.
Added sugars are generally high in the glycemic index, are broken down and digested quickly, and are much less healthy.
Remember, five grams of sugar is roughly equal to one heaped teaspoon. In this example, a single serving of this food contains 13 teaspoons of sugar. Imagine putting that in your coffee!
Despite being relatively low in calories and very low in fat, this food contains almost all of the recommended amount of added sugar for a women and 75 percent for a man. Its no wonder that so many people eat so much added sugar!
How To Navigate Your Sugar Vs Added Sugar Intake
So, you know why added sugar should be limitedbut how exactly should you approach sugar in your own life to make sure you stay your healthiest? According to Gorin, one rule of thumb to stick to is trying to get the majority of your sugar from natural sources and avoiding the packaged stuff as much as you can.
“I would recommend eating whole fruits and purchasing 100 percent juice, which has nothing added to it. When you’re shopping for juice, words like ‘beverage,’ ‘drink,’ ‘-ade,’ ‘punch,’ or ‘cocktail’ are keywords to indicate that the product may not be 100 percent juice,” she explains.
“And in general, when it comes to added sugar, I’d recommend trying to eat at least some of your desserts and sweet treats without added sugar. Just because there’s a daily value for added sugar doesn’t mean you have to meet it!”
When you snack on homemade fruit-based chocolate pudding, for instance, instead of the real thing , you’ll be much better off down the line. You can also try some dietitian-recommended healthy dessert ideas and food swaps to eat less sugar. Paying closer attention to labels and your sugar habits isn’t a fun job, but it’s one that can quite literally save your life.
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How To Eat Less Added Sugar
Now you know how to identify added sugars you can make informed choices about what you buy to eat. Needless to say, eating more natural foods and fewer processed foods makes eating less sugar much easier.
If, however, you like cakes and cookies there is no need to give up these foods completely. Instead of buying these foods, consider making your own. That way youll know exactly how much sugar you are eating and can even make a point of using natural, healthy sweeteners in place of regular sucrose or table sugar.
Good, natural, sugar alternatives that contain at least some healthy nutrients include:
- Lucuma powder
- Artichoke syrup
While these ingredients are still forms of sugar, the fact that they contain vitamins and minerals makes them better than regular sugar and much healthier than added sugars. They still contain calories and should only be eaten in moderation but are much healthier than sucrose.
While you might be tempted to replace sugar with artificial sweeteners which are very low in calories or even calorie-free, dont. Things like aspartame and Sweet N Low are nothing more than chemicals that can be toxic and are associated with just as many serious medical conditions are the sugar you are trying to replace.
Always Read The Nutrition Facts Label And The Ingredient List
They contain information that can really help you determine how healthy a food is. Crackers, for example, may advertise on the front of the box that theyre Trans Fat Free, but in the ingredient list you may find fats, like palm oil and coconut oil, that are just as artery-clogging as the trans fats they replaced.
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Sugar In Dairy Products
Generally speaking, regular milk and plain yoghurt dont contain added sugars, but contain lactose a naturally occurring sweetener. However if youre buying the flavoured varieties that most certainly will contain added sugars. So whilst added sugars will contribute to increased calories in a product, the natural sugars in dairy are part of the nutritional value which is a good thing providing calcium and other valuable nutrients that our body needs.
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How To Read % Daily Value
This figure helps you evaluate whether there is a little or a lot of a nutrient in what you are about to consume. For instance, a 10 per cent daily value of fibre means one serving of that food provides 10 per cent of the fibre you should consume in one day. The quick rule is, five per cent DV or less is a little, and 15 per cent DV or more is a lot. Daily values for carbohydrates, total fat, saturated fat and trans fat are based on a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet. Daily values for the remaining nutrients apply to most people, regardless of caloric needs.
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Check The Amount Of Servings Per Package
Decades ago, many products were in fact single servings. A bottle of cola was one serving. One small candy bar was one serving. Today, many products are super sized and contain multiple servings. A 20-ounce bottle of soda contains 2.5 servings, at 110 calories each. Now, in the real world, whos going to drink just one serving of that bottle? Is it any surprise that many of us are super-sized ourselves?
What About The Percentage That You See On The Label And The Dv
Well thats meant to act as a benchmark to determine if that food is high or low in a certain nutrient.
While I could explain this to you, I thought hearing from Jess Haines, the Associate Professor of Nutrition at the University of Guelph would be fun, because shes involved in some really cool stuff.
Dr. Jess Haines is an Associate Professor of Applied Nutrition at the University of Guelph in Canada. Dr. Hainess research focuses on developing strategies to support childrens healthy eating and growth. Dr. Haines is the Co-Director of the Guelph Family Health Study, a long-term study of families with young children
To recap, once you see that percent sign, the 5% DV or less is a little of a nutrient and 15% DV or more is a lot of a nutrient. They only list four nutrients vitamin A, calcium, iron and vitamin C. The rest of the daily values are based on what has been said is a healthy diet and involves too much math to explain on a podcast without a calculator, whiteboard and people that are math smarter than me. We are safe to say that I dont hold much value in the DV mentioned here, so stick to the gram numbers so you know what youre getting.
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To Count Carbohydrates Look At Three Things:
- Serving Size
- Number of Servings Per Container
- Grams of Total Carbohydrate per serving
The total carbohydrate tells how many grams of carbohydrate are in one serving. Be careful when reading the label. There can be more than one serving in the package, so if you eat more than one serving, you will need to multiply the grams of carbohydrate accordingly.
How To Read The New Nutrition Label: 6 Things You Need To Know
As Americans struggle with obesity and diabetes, help is on the way.
The iconic black-and-white Nutrition Facts label for packaged foods in the U.S. is getting its first makeover in two decades. The federal governments decision last month to update the food label means that for the first time, beginning in 2018, labels will list how much added sugar is in a product.
The decision, reflecting the latest science, will be felt well beyond the label. University of California food experts praised the labeling changes and offered six key takeaways.
1. Listing added sugar is the most important label change.
The new label will list the amount of added sugar in a product, both in grams and as a percentage of the daily recommended allowance.
Thats key, said Laura Schmidt, a UC San Francisco professor of health policy and UC Global Food Initiative subcommittee member. That will be really helpful for consumers.
Added sugar any sugar added in the preparation of foods such as table sugar, high fructose corn syrup and others can be found in hundreds of products such as cereal, yogurt, pasta sauce and salad dressing. But the biggest source is sugar-sweetened beverages, which account for nearly half of Americans intake of added sugar.
2. Americans need to consume less sugar.
Crawford noted that the new federal dietary guidelines for the first time recommend limiting added sugars in the diet to no more than 10 percent of ones daily calories.
6. Further steps could help consumers.
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Lets Move Onto The Ingredient List
You MUST use this alongside those grams because it lets you know what is added into the product. Take infant formula for example. If you read the ingredient list, youll see lactose listed on most products. And while youd think that a formula is made from milk, which naturally contains lactose, when I first saw it I wondered why lactose was on the ingredient list. Formula is a perfect example of the science and formulation behind a processed food Im not slamming it, it just is what it is. Ingredients need to be protein that comes from casein or whey, then they add in nutrients because some could have been lost in processing or they need to add extras like iron. The lactose being added is there because it has to be added back in. Protein powder from dairy, well it has been separated. In the case of infants having issues with lactose and parents thinking their baby is lactose intolerant happens because the lactose added to a formula is more than whats found in regular milk or breastmilk and it actually overloads the babys gut leading to gassiness and even colic. Digestion cant keep up with that much lactose in one feeding. For me, this was a huge a-ha about food production and how it can affect us. It also explained why there is such a thing as lactose or gentle formulas for babies with tricky tummies. They use sucrose instead. The carb value and sweetness still needs to be in there, but its an ingredient not naturally occurring.
How To Read Food Labels 10 Tips
Here are the basics for how to read food labels, consolidated into 10 quick-reference tips, compliments of Kimberly Gomer, Director of Nutrition at the Pritikin Longevity Center in Miami, Florida.
These 10 tips are all about helping you shed excess weight, take good care of your heart, and live well.
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The Basics Of The Nutrition Facts Label
Step 1: Start with the Serving Size
- Look here for both the serving size and the number of servings in the package.
- Compare your portion size to the serving size listed on the panel. The Nutrition Facts applies to the serving size, so if the serving size is one cup and you eat two cups, you are getting twice the calories, fat and other nutrients than what is listed on the label.
Step 2: Compare the Total Calories to Your Individual Needs
- Find out how many calories are in a single serving and compare it to your total calorie allowance for the day. For general nutrition advice, 2,000 calories per day is used, but your individual needs may be higher or lower depending on a number of factors, including your age, sex, height, weight, and activity level.
Step 3: Let the Percent Daily Values Be a Guide
Step 4: Check Out the Nutrition Terms
Step 5: Choose Low in Saturated Fat, Added Sugars and Sodium
- Eating less saturated fat, added sugars and sodium may help reduce your risk for chronic disease.
- Saturated fat and trans fat are linked to an increased risk of heart disease.
- Eating too much added sugars makes it difficult to meet nutrient needs within your calorie requirement.
- High levels of sodium can add up to high blood pressure.
- Remember to aim for low percentage DV of these.
Step 6: Get Enough Vitamins, Minerals and Dietary Fiber
Step 7: Consider the Additional Nutrients
How To Understand Food Labels
Food labels can be very confusing and tricky to understand. Often we dont have the time to spend trying to work out what they mean and how to use them.
However, a few quick tips can make shopping for healthy food a whole lot easier and quicker and can help you lose weight. Knowing what nutrition information to look for, can help you make the best choice for your health and avoid unnecessary saturated fat, added salt, added sugars and kilojoules.
Labels on most packaged food must meet strict requirements that include information for people with food allergies, food additive listings and food storage instructions. More information about food labelling requirements can be found at Food Labels – What do they mean? Food Standards Australia and New Zealand .
While food labels can carry many different types of information, the main things to look at when choosing healthy food are the Nutrition Information Panel.
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Targets To Keep In Mind
If you’re only going to read one section of this guide, this is the one to focus on. The following reference points are good context to keep in mind when you first look at a food label, otherwise it can be difficult to know whether a given food offers a lot or a little of something youre trying to dial up or dial down.
The average American adult is encouraged to aim for the following numbers for daily consumption.
Information to pay the most attention to:
But the average American consumes more than 82 grams per day, according to the University of California, San Francisco.
- Dietary fiber:28 grams. This has been deemed a nutrient of public health concern because of the health risks associated with low intake and the fact that the vast majority of Americans dont get enough. Fiber is important for overall digestive health, so inadequate intake can lead to constipation and other bowel problems it may also make you not feel as full, which can lead to excess calorie intake and potential weight gain.
Nutrition Facts Label Variations
Many Nutrition Facts labels on the market will be formatted in the same way as the lasagna label that has been used as an example throughout this page, but there are other formats of the label that food manufacturers are permitted to use. This final section will present two alternate formats: the dual-column label and the single-ingredient sugar label.
In addition to dual-column labeling and single-ingredient sugar labels, there are other label formats which you can explore here.
For certain products that are larger than a single serving but that could be consumed in one sitting or multiple sittings, manufacturers will have to provide dual column labels to indicate the amounts of calories and nutrients on both a per serving and per package or per unit basis. The purpose of this type of dual-column labeling is to allow people to easily identify how many calories and nutrients they are getting if they eat or drink the entire package/unit at one time. For example, a bag of pretzels with 3 servings per container might have a label that looks like this to show you how many calories and other nutrients would be in one serving and in one package .
Single-Ingredient Sugar labels
Here is an example of how a label on a single-ingredient sugar, such as honey, could look.
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