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The Skinny on Nutrition Labels

Label reading is very important when it comes to making healthy choices.

All of the information needed is listed right there on the package. However, reading and understanding the Nutrition Facts label are two very different things. Here are some tips to make label reading easier.

Tip #1: Start at the top.
Always look at the serving size first. Every nutrient listed on the Nutrition Facts label is based on this amount. If more than one serving is consumed, the calories and nutrients need to be multiplied by the number of servings consumed.

Tip #2: Pay attention to the calories per serving.
This information is very important when it comes to achieving and maintaining weight goals. Limit foods with the majority of calories coming from fat.

Tip #3: Limit these nutrients.

    • Total Fat
      Includes all types of fat. A food is low in fat if it provides 3 grams of total fat or less per serving. Based on a 2,000 calorie diet, total fat should be limited to 65 grams per day (30% of total calories).
    • Saturated and Trans Fat
      These unhealthy fats contribute to high cholesterol levels and should be limited to a combined total of less than 20 grams per day, based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
    • Cholesterol
      Limit to 300 milligrams or less per day.
    • Sodium
      Based on the 2010 Dietary Guidelines sodium should be limited to 2,300 milligrams per day. Individuals who are age 51 or older, African American, or have diabetes, hypertension, or chronic kidney disease should limit sodium to 1,500 milligrams per day. Remember that 75% of sodium intake is often contributed by processed, restaurant and fast foods.
Cheryl Williams RD, LMNT, LD
Cheryl Williams RD, LMNT, LD

Cheryl Williams RD, LMNT, LD is a Registered Dietitian with CHI Health.

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