Ever walk down and aisle and see “Reduced Carb” “Keto-Friendly” “Heart Healthy” “Immune Support” etc.? Well… food marketing today can be very misleading. In order to really understand what is in the food you are purchasing and consuming, you must read the nutrition label on the back! Not many people are familiar with what nutrition labels actually mean, so here’s the 101 on understanding them!
CALORIES are a unit of measurement in regard to a specific food. A calorie does not measure weight, it actually measures energy. Calories are a way to describe the energy your body can get from eating or drinking.
SERVINGS PER CONTAINER is the total amount of food in one specific item or package. You will be shocked at how many servings typically come in one package.
SERVING SIZE is the standardized amount of food based off of calories, macronutrients, vitamins, etc. Many times, you will think the calories are really great… until you realize the package contains 8 servings per container. Typically, the serving size will be provided in grams(g) or ounces (oz). This information is crucial when consuming packaged food. Calories add up quick and before you know it, you could have eaten 3,4,5 servings without realizing it!
TOTAL FAT/TYPES OF FAT do matter! When looking at labels, check the total fat, as well as the types of fats listed directly under it. Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are considered healthier fats compared to saturated and trans fats.
Underneath the nutrition label, you will see a list of ingredients. This is something everyone should keep their eye on as well. Product ingredients are listed by quantity. The first ingredient will be the majority ingredient for the food in the package. As the list continues, the lesser the ingredient in the item.
Keep in mind that the healthiest foods, contain ingredients that you can pronounce. If you’re checking out a label and you aren’t able to pronounce half the ingredients, you should probably place it back on the shelf. It is important to consume whole foods and “real foods” In order to get the macro and micronutrients you need to support your immune system. Having a bunch of fillers in the ingredients of a food, will not get you the results you are looking for!