Sunday, March 16, 2003

Nutrition facts 

I'm a nutrition fiend and like to read the food labels. Here's what I learned about how to read these labels:

Serving size - consider how much you are eating compared to the label

Calories - cut back on calories if you're trying to lose weight

Total fat - a low fat food has 3 grams or less of total fat per serving
Saturated fat - included in the total fat, but is listed separately because saturated fat raises your blood cholesterol

Cholesterol - only found in foods from animal sources, such as chicken, fish, beed, eggs, cheese, etc.; try to keep your cholesterol intake to less than 300 mg / day; too much cholesterol can lead to heart disease

Sodium - too much sodium may raise your blood pressure; aim for 2,400 mg or less per day; a low sodium food has 140 mg or less in one serving

Total carbohydrate - found in bread, pasta, rice, cereal, fruit, potatoes, and sweets (sugary foods)
Dietary fiber - can help reduce the risk of heart disease; aim for 25-30g fiber per day; found in whole grains, vegetables, fruits
Sugars - included in total carbohydrates; includes both naturally occurring and added sugar

Protein - found in both plant and animal foods, including fish, poultry, meat, eggs, beans, tofu, nuts and seeds

Percent daily value - based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet so may/may not apply to you if you eat more or less than that each day