How to read labels
Ok.. Anyone who's been around here since I first joined knows that besides being "Mr. Salt Police", I'm also Mr. Label Police.. That said, we should ALL be reading labels at the store...
Here's yet another article from Yahoo....
Making Sense of Food Labels
Posted Fri, Jun 27, 2008, 2:25 pm PDT
Even though you may already be reading food labels, do you really know what you're reading? If you said "No," you're not alone. These labels are indeed crowded with information and can be confusing.
The first thing to pay attention to on the label is the serving size, which is listed at the top of the Nutrition Facts Panel. The problem is that the serving size on the label is often less that what is actually inside the container — and it's not necessarily the serving size you would usually eat, either.
For example, the package of a frozen dinner entrée may say it contains 3 servings, even though you can tell that the entrée will only serve one. Thankfully, the serving sizes on food labels are standardized, so you can compare them from product to product. For example, serving sizes for cereals are always listed in cups.
But instead of getting bogged down in counting every gram on the food label, try using the percent Daily Values (%DVs, listed on the right side of the Nutrition Facts Panel) to help you make healthy choices. The %DVs tell you how much of a particular nutrient one serving contains, compared to the amount that's recommended for an entire day. For example, 25%DV for fiber means that one serving provides one-fourth of the recommended intake for fiber.
When you're referring to the %DV, you can also use the "5 and 20" rule. Less than 5%DV of a particular nutrient is considered a small amount; greater than 20%DV is considered large. So, look for foods that have 5%DV or less of such detrimental nutrients as fat, cholesterol, and sodium. Aim for greater than 20%DV for things like fiber, calcium, and vitamin C.
Read food labels every time you shop and let serving sizes and the %DV guide you to healthy choices.
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