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Labels and the story they tell

Label Detectives
Food stores are filled with delicious things. What's in the food you are eating? The food label tells you

Serving Size

Pay attention to the serving size. It tells you the amount of food that the nutrient information given on the label is based on. They are provided in familiar units, such as cups or pieces, followed by the metric amount, e.g., the number of grams. It is based on the amount of food a person typically eats. For example, one serving of macaroni and cheese equals one cup. If you ate the entire package, you would eat 2 cups, which means you would consume twice the amount of the nutrients listed on the label.

Total Fat: Aim low. Most people need to cut back on fat! Too much fat may contribute to a whole list of health problems. Try to limit your calories from fat. Choose foods with a big difference between the total number of calories and the number of calories from fat.

Saturated fat: It is listed separately because it's the key player in raising blood cholesterol and your risk of heart disease. Eat less!

Cholesterol: A second cousin to fat — can lead to heart disease.

Salt: You call it “salt,” the label calls it “sodium.” Either way, it may add up to high blood pressure in some people. So, keep your sodium intake low

Carbohydrates: It has two groups: starches (complex carbohydrates) and sugars (simple carbohydrates). On a food label, sugars include…brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, fructose, fruit juice, concentrate glucose (dextrose), raw sugar, syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, invert sugar maltose, molasses, table sugar (sucrose).

A food is likely to be high in sugars if one or several of the above items appears first or second in the ingredients list. GOOD: Less than 10g per 100g. HEALTHIEST: Less than 2g per 100g.

Fibre: It aids digestion and helps fight some diseases. Look for products with high fibre

Vitamins and Minerals: Get enough of these nutrients as these can improve your health and boost your immune system to fight diseases.

Calories: They are a measure of how much energy you get from food. Calories come from three sources: fat, protein, and carbohydrate.Too many of this can cause overweight problems. The units of calorie intake is usually in kilocalories (kcal). One gram of fat gives 9.5 kcal when consumed. Similarly, carbohydrates yield 4.2 kcal/gram and proteins yield about 4.1 kcal/gram.

Protein: Protein listed on a nutrition label only refers to the amount of complete proteins in the food. They are the building blocks of our body. Get more of these.