Take control of your health and power as an educated consumer! Understanding and interpreting food labels is a powerful way to make sure that you’re choosing the healthiest food possible and it can be done in three simple steps.
To help explain, we’ll use two types of crackers as seen below:
Look at the serving size as it can vary quite a bit from product to product. Cracker A is 9 crackers, B is 4 but both are between 20-23 grams so it would be fair to compare these. Serving size may be listed in terms of grams or volume (1/2 cup for example).
Ask yourself if the serving size listed on the Nutritional Facts mirror what you normally consume. In the case of Cracker A, if I know I normally consume about 20 crackers it become a higher fat snack becuase the total fat moves up to 9 grams.
Check the % DVs – percentage of daily value. This is normally based on a 2000 calorie diet but it’s important to note that two people could both need 2000 calories but require totally different types of nutrients. Women for example, require more iron than do men.
In general, 5% DV is considered a little and 15% or more is considered a lot.
Choose the product that has:
LOWER AMOUNTS: sodium and trans/saturated fats
HIGHER AMOUNTS: of fiber.
In our example, Cracker B would be the healthier choice.
It’s also interesting to note that by law, companies only have to list four (4) micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals; Vitamin A, Calcium, Iron, and Vitamin C. This will be covered in future post, however, keep in mind that you also need to monitor levels of Thaimin (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), and Niacin.