3 Step Method for Deciphering a Food Label
like a Nutritionist
|Serving size: 2 crackers
# servings in package: 17
| 1- Look at the serving size and the calories.
The serving size and servings per container are at the top of
the label. Using common measurements such as pieces, tablespoons,
or cups, these are based on the amount of food that people typically
eat. All listed nutrients pertain to this serving size.
| Will you eat only one serving? If you
eat double the listed serving size, then you need to double
the calories (120), saturated fat, etc.
Look at the calories per serving: is it under 200 for a snack
or 300-500 for a meal?
Decreasing your total calorie intake by about 500 or more per
day puts you on the weight loss track.
|Dietary fiber: 3g (grams), 13% daily value
|| 2- Look at the fiber
Good fiber source products contain 2.5-5 grams of fiber and
high fiber source products contain more than 5 grams.
Sometimes a label will also tell you specifically how much soluble
and insoluble fiber are in a product. Both types of fiber are
important. Soluble fiber acts more like a sponge in the body,
helping lower cholesterol. Insoluble fiber works more like a
broom in the body, cleaning out the intestinal tract.
| Does the product contain 2.5-5 or more
grams of fiber per serving?
A quick guide to the % daily values (which are based on a 2000
calorie diet): 5% or less means that one serving of this food
product is low in that nutrient and 20% or more means it's high
in that nutrient. Because your calorie intake may be different
than 1500 calories, use these daily values as references only.
| Saturated fat: 0g (grams), 0% daily value
Ingredients: partially hydrogenated soybean oil
| 3- Look at the unhealthy fats: saturated
and trans fats
Saturated fat is an unhealthy fat that you want to limit in
your diet to 10% of your total calories. Someone on a 1600 calorie
diet should eat no more than 16 grams of saturated fat in a
Another unhealthy fat, trans fat, is listed in the ingredients
section as "partially hydrogenated oils." Unfortunately it's
hard to find a processed snack food without them, though there
| Is the product low in saturated fat (less
than or equal to 5% daily value)?
Is the word "hydrogenated" or "partially hydrogenated" not present
or low on the ingredients list? Ingredients are listed from
the greatest amounts down to the smallest amounts.