Learning To Read Food Labels - 2
The amount of saturated and trans fats should be
very small and the portion size should be
For example, consider a serving of cream. For a
15 ml serving (one tablespoon) the cream has 1 gram of
saturated fat. While the amount of fat is small, the
serving is small, too, meaning that the product is
actually 8% fat.
Soya milk, a much better alternative, has 1 gram
of saturated fat in a two cup serving, making it much
lower in saturated fat. When making healthy choices,
check this part of every food for the
• Serving Size: This will tell you whether your
food is really healthy or whether it just appears so due
to a very tiny portion size.
• Fat/Lipids: Look at the gram amount of trans and
saturated fat. The lower it is the better. The lower the
overall amount of fat, the better.
• Sodium: Look for food that contains as little as
• Calories: Choosing lower calorie food is better
for your heart, your cholesterol level, and your overall
• Fiber: Foods high in fiber are good for your
health and cholesterol levels.
• Cholesterol: Foods which are lower in dietary
• Percentage: The right hand side of many labels
will tell you what percentage of the “recommended daily
value” the food does represent.
For example, a product may claim to provide 30%
of a day’s recommended daily value in iron. This means
that one serving size of the food will give 30% of the
fiber you need for the day.
When shopping for food, make sure to choose food
that has the lowest percentages for values such as
sodium, cholesterol, and fat, and moderate percentages
for values such as fibre. This will help ensure that you
are making a heart-healthy choice.
You might notice that a number of foods do not
contain food labels at all. Foods sold in bulk, fresh
produce, home-made foods, e.g. foods sold at bake sales
or at farmer’s stands, and prepared foods in restaurants
and cafeterias don’t have these labels.
In the case of fresh products and some bulk
foods like dried legumes, lentils and spices, this does
not always matter, because you generally know that these
foods are healthy and contain no fat, cholesterol, or
other harmful elements. On the other hand, no food labels
are a good reason to avoid restaurant and take-out meals,
because you have no control or choice over how much food
you are eating.
If you really want to know how much fat, sodium,
fibre, and cholesterol you are eating in food that comes
with no label, you might want to invest in food guides
that estimate how much fat, calories, and other
components are in the more common food
Some restaurants have even begun to offer
ingredient lists and food value information about their
meals, but this information isn’t always easy to find.
It’s sometimes posted in the kitchen or on the restaurant
In the future, it is possible that more
restaurants will offer patrons this information so that
diners can make more informed decisions about what they
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