Healthy Diet Plans >>  Reading Food Labels >>  Food Label Nutritional Information

Importance Of Food Labels And Reading Food Labels Ingredients

As per the standards set by various food committees round the world, it is mandatory for all food manufacturers to have food labels on their packaged food products. Food labels generally convey the nutritional facts of the food. Also, food labels convey the ingredients in the food and sometimes, even the country where the food has been manufactured or processed. Food labels may also mention the nutritional claims of the respective brands of foods.

Making Food Choices With Food Labels

Though food labels provide a lot of information, the nutritional content is the most crucial information from the perspective of health. You must keep in mind that you need all the nutrients in your diet so as to sustain and live healthy.
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As such, food rich in one particular nutrient is not sufficient. These food labels help you make choices of foods so as to include all the nutrients in your diet. For example, if your breakfast cereal has a label which states that the cereal is rich in vitamins, this means that you need to supplement other nutrients in your diet by opting for foods rich in other nutrients.

Here are a few tips to effectively use the food labels:
  • You must start with the size of servings. This is because other information on food labels like calories and nutrients are all based on the quantities per serving. You may also make a note of the number of serving in the package.
  • You must then see the number of calories provided by the food per serving, as calories are the measure of energy provided by food per serving.
  • You must then check the percent daily value per serving. These percentages show the amount of nutrients an average person will get from one serving of the food.
  • You must then check the content of carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, and minerals in one serving of the food. You must also see the fiber content per serving of the packaged food.
  • You must not ignore the fat content of the food. Total fats show the amount of fats per serving. You must also check the cholesterol content of the food.
  • Despite checking the food labels, consumers are prone to commit mistakes in interpreting some of the information on food labels. For example, if a food label says that the food contains low sodium, you may interpret it to mean that the food contains low sodium content. This label actually infers that the sodium content has been reduced by a respective percentage from the original product.
  • As such, you must be careful when you select packaged foods and read the food labels carefully.  

Submitted on August 17, 2009
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