Decoding Nutrition Label: What it is and what we really need?
The best source to identify the nutritional value of the packaged food you buy whether organic or non-organic is the nutrition label on them. Reading the nutrition label on the foods gives you a better idea about the food you will be consuming. While most of us ignore this essential part of the food packaging, there are many who have found ways to decode the nutrition label.
Decoding nutrition label is not easy but it becomes simpler to understand after you go through the article. Reading the nutrition label and choosing the products accordingly will help you sort the healthy foods from the rest. It’s about being smart as most of the food companies try to hide the real facts about the food within this particular label.
How to Decode a Nutrition Label?
Basically, there are three different elements mentioned on a standard nutrition label. To read the nutrition label properly, you need to understand each element on the label thoroughly. By learning to decode the nutrition label, you are moving a step closer to a healthy lifestyle.
So, here are the three elements you should learn about:
Each value on the label for different nutrients is based on the serving size. Most food companies keep the serving size low. This is done in order to create the illusion about the calorie count of the food. Companies in US must mention the number of servings per package. This is not the case with food companies in other countries. They are not bound to do it unlike in US.
Well, you can still find out the number of servings even if it isn’t mentioned on the packaging. Simply divide the total quantity (in grams) of the food package with the number of grams in one serving size and you will get the number of total servings in the overall pack.
Well, most people put a lot of emphasis on the calorie count and neglect everything that’s high in the number of calories. It is quite the way if you are trying to lose weight but being said that you must also understand that you require calories to fuel your body with energy.
This is one of the most important factors that you must consider always. If you take more calories than you require, it will lead to weight gain. However, if you want to lose weight, it is advised to go for foods that are low in calories. They should also be high in nutrients. On a general note, anything over 400 calories per serving should be restricted from your diet.
% Daily Value (%DV) and Footnote
If you have been reading the nutrition labels on packaged foods a lot, you must have come across the terms Daily Value or DV as well as the footnote. Well, the number reflected as Daily Value is the percentage of a nutrient found in single serving. The percentage show the amounts of nutrients present in a 2000-calorie diet. This number helps you understand the nutritional value of the food. In simple terms, if the Daily Value or DV is less than 5 percent, the food is considered as low in nutrients,. If the %DV is more than 20 percent, then it is the sign of a highly nutritious food.
Besides the nutrition values, the label also contains a footnote that describes the amount of fat, carbohydrates, fiber, sodium, and cholesterol you must consume on 2000 or 2500 calorie diets.