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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Healthy Eating - Tips For Reading Food Labels


When it comes to healthy eating, two of the biggest problems for most Americans are the inability to correctly read food labels,and not knowing what counts as one serving when choosing food to eat from each the five major food group.

According to American Dietetic Association,when Reading Food Labels you should look for the following:
1.Serving Size: It is very important to bear in mind that all the information listed on a food label in regards to calories and nutrients,is just for one serving of that food. Therefore, if you should consume more than one serving of that food,the calories and nutrients obtained will be more.

2.Calories:
When choosing food,choose wisely. Select food items that will provide you with all the nutrients you need without exceeding your daily caloric goal. Excess calories often leads to weight gain.

3.Total Fat,Saturated Fat,and Trans Fat:

-Consider choosing foods that contain less than 5grams(g)of total fat per serving. For an individual who needs to consume 2,000 calories per day,fifty to seventy-five g/dly is considered a good range. Try to select foods that contain fats that are healthy for the heart(i.e monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats).

-You should choose foods that contain less than 3g per serving of saturated fat and trans fat,as they are both considered unhealthy for the heart. An individual should not consume no more than 15grams of saturated fat and trans fat(combined)within a single day, if he/she need to eat 2,000 calories daily.

-Carefully review ingredients. For example, if a food contains partially hydrogenated oils,then it contains trans fat.(the label may still say trans fat-free,if it contains less than half a gram per serving.)

4.Sodium: Choose foods that are low in sodium. Your sodium intake should be less than 2,400mg/dly,(or eat no more than the amount ordered by your health care provider).

5.Total Carbohydrates and Sugars: Choose foods that contain less than 30g total carbohydrate and less than 15g sugars per serving,if you have high triglycerides.

6.Dietary Fiber:
-Your daily target should be 25 to 30 grams of dietary fiber. This goal can be achieved by including foods with at least 5g of fiber per serving.