Reading a food label
Last week we discussed food meal prepping. However, in order to know what calories you are eating, you must need to know how to read a food label.
Although they are working on changing the food labels to more the amount of sugar, how many calories, and how many servings more obvious, we will be going over our current food label.
Here’s a label for a Clif bar.
- The first thing we will look at is what a serving size is and how many servings per package there are. Once we have established that, we will then know how much we can eat to obtain said about of calories and nutrients. In this case, the serving size is 1 bar and the number of servings is 1 so it makes our lives easy. It also lists out how many grams or ounces one serving is if you need to weigh it.
- Next, we look at the calories. This has 210 calories per serving with 100 calories from fat. This means that of the 210, 100 come from fat. This was originally added to the label because fat was seen as “bad” and it was recommended to get less of it. This is true, however getting the right amounts of fat is more important.
- Moving on, we see that there is 11 grams of fat and they are breakdown of saturated, trans, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats. The most important to avoid is trans fat, as it is very unhealthy. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are the best kinds of fat and are found in other foods like avocado and olive oil while the saturated fat is from other oils and meats.
- We see that the 11 grams of fat are 17% of your daily value of fats. This is based off of a 2,000 calorie diet and it will not be suiting for the calories I have allotted you. However, the % of your daily value is nice as a reference point to see if the food is high in one of your nutrients.
- Moving on to cholesterol, we see that this food has 0 mg. Unless you have any health issues, your daily value will be set at 300mg.
- Sodium is also listed at 0mg and again unless you have any dietary restrictions your daily value will be set at 2,300mg. This is important to be mindful of when dieting because when you take in too much sodium, it will cause you to retain water and cause a wrong reading when we weigh you in. That being said, if you do notice that you have eaten a lot of sodium, drinking more water will help flush it out of your system.
- We see potassium is 330mg out of our 3,500mg daily value. Potassium is important in muscle recovery and will help avoid cramping and soreness after a workout.
- Total carbohydrates are next. Why is it “total”? This has to do with your “net” carbs which some companies advertise because it is believed that you should subtract your grams of fiber from your grams of carbs. This can be deceiving and is mainly an advertising tool because you will still need x amount of carbohydrates and about 25-30 grams of fiber daily. That being said, it also lists the grams of fiber in the serving and you should reach between 25-30 grams a day.
- Sugar is also listed under carbohydrates. This bar has 18(!!!!) grams of sugar. That is 4.5 teaspoons of sugar. While we should stay under 72 grams a day, the type of sugar is very important to watch. Added sugar and high fructose corn syrup are typically found in packaged goods, candies, bakery goods, etc which are the sugars to avoid. While naturally occurring sugars such as found in fruit are preferred, unless you have to keep your blood sugar controlled for a health concern.
- Protein is listed as 6 grams for this bar. We have already discussed the importance of protein for your goals and will help keep you fuller longer.
-Finally, all the vitamins and minerals are listed under the box and is percentage based off of the daily recommendation for most unless otherwise stated by a doctor or dietician.
I wanted to review this because it can be deceiving because of advertisements or not acknowledging the serving size when eating your food.
I would be happy to review a food label with you in person to get a one-on-one understanding of what to look for when reading the label.
Just for reference, the new food labels will look like so:
When these labels are officially released, we can revisit the topic with the updated information.
Stay tuned for the recipe of the week coming soon!
Also, a special shout out to client Eric who has been giving 110% effort on his nutrition and has been seeing great results from the commitment! Keep up the great work Eric!
Finally, any review on my Yelp page is greatly appreciated! If you have written one for me previously, feel free to copy and paste onto the yelp page!
Thank you as always!