Hi I’m Candy Cumming, a registered dietician
from Sharp Healthcare and today we’re gonna look at food labels and try to make some sense
out of them. So the first thing you want to look at on the label is serving size because
every single piece of information on that label will relate back to the stated serving
size. Now sometimes there’s one serving in a container and sometimes it’s multiple
servings in a container. Take for instance this pot pie. This is one where you can really
be confused because most of us will eat the whole pie but if you look at the label, it
says there are two servings in this particular package. So, when you look at the calories
in here, and how many calories does a person need in a day? You might think, well if I
want to weigh about 150 lbs of desired body weight I need about ten calories per pound
of my desired body weight. So if I choose to weigh, say 150, then I need about 1500
calories a day. So let’s look at this particular piece of processed food here, and look at
how many calories are in a portion, but how many would I eat if I ate the whole container.
So if I look here it’s 520 calories per portion; two portions in this package; a 1,040
calories in this package. More than 2/3 of the calories I need if I’m about a 150 lb
person. Whoa, that is like, totally overdoing it for one piece of food! All right, one of
the other things we want to check for on the label is the fiber content. And typically
we’re going to get fiber from fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans and one of the biggest
places we’re going to look from fiber is from a breakfast cereal. And if we look at
the old American standard Corn Flakes and you check the fiber content on that label
is one gram providing only four percent of our fiber for a day. Not a big contributor.
On the other hand we can look for a higher fiber cereal, Fiber One being one of the mother
loads of fiber. And here we could have nine grams of fiber in the serving size, not one
gram, and get a third of the fiber we need just from the cereal alone. One of the other
things you want to check for on the label is the sugar that’s in the food. Now unfortunately,
the label doesn’t differentiate between the sugar naturally found in the food and
sugar dumped into and added to the food. So say for instance on milk, somebody might look
at this and say, “Oh my gosh, there’s sugar in the milk,” but that the lactose.
That’s the sugar that belongs in the milk and there’s 15 grams of lactose sugar in
this milk. No sugar has been added to the milk. On the other hand, I can go and buy
yogurt that’s been sweetened and if I look at the label, 27 grams of sugar, and the difference
between the 15 and the 27 is added sugar. How do I know there is sugar added? We’re
going to look for words that end in –ose, O S E: so that would be things like sucrose,
high fructose corn syrup and fructose. And now, you know a lot more about how to use
a food label to your advantage.

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Methew Wade

6 thoughts on “Understanding Food Labels”

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