Improving your health and controlling your weight go hand in hand and understanding how to read food labels with the purpose to understanding nutrition facts, is key to consuming more of the good stuff and less of the bad. It is particularly important when it comes to looking out for the amount of sugar and sodium vs. calories. Low in calories does not necessarily mean that it is nutritious. The key is to find nutritious foods that are low in calories, sugar and sodium.
Here’s what you should look for:
Serving size is (in most cases) much smaller than the pack size. If you have a 2-pack, you may find that the serving size is one only, which means you can half both the calories and the nutrition.
Usually represented by serving, this is the measure of energy the food supplies to your body. But you know that already. Just remember that if the calories are based on one piece, you need to double it if you eat two. You will also notice that the label might say:
Calories from fat: This shows the percentage of calories that are derived from fat. This is already included in the total calories.
The bodies does need sodium to function, but most of us consume way too much already. If you consume a lot of processed foods, you should pay close attention to the sodium levels in your food. As women, especially, our bodies hold on to that sodium which causes us to bloat and gain the dreaded “water weight”.
Foods with a high sugar content usually contain very little fiber, which most likely indicates that you are eating a simple carbohydrate. Simple carbs digest very quickly, and mess with your blood sugar levels, which in turn, can lead to a wide array of health problems. Look for foods that list very little sugar (and no, this doesn’t mean turn to artificial sweeteners!) 😉
While food labels represent fats, protein, carbohydrates, dietary fiber and more, the key is to look out for foods that are low in the four ingredients above if you want to improve your diet and lose weight.