We have all seen the Nutrition Facts label on our food, but what does all of that information really mean? Believe it or not, all of the information on that little label is helpful in letting you, the consumer, know exactly what you are getting. And sometimes, what we are really getting is not what we think….
Take a typical Nutrition Facts label on macaroni and cheese….Start with the serving size – Everything below is based on one serving. Sometimes a serving size is not one of something, but two or three of something. You will normally then see the calories (and again, this is per serving). In the case of a product like macaroni and cheese, you have to ask yourself how many servings you are eating. Or limit yourself to one serving.The calories are a measure of how much energy a serving of food will give you.
The major nutrients are then listed. There are some that you want to limit, such as Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium. You want these numbers to be LOW, as too much of these may lead to heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer. You want to get more of these: Dietary fiber, Vitamins, Calcium and Iron. Also limit your sugars and protein.
Here is a handy guide to the % Daily Value: 5% or less is LOW. 20% or more is HIGH.
A diet that contains fruits, veggies, whole grains and is low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease. This type of diet is one that you should strive for. In moderation, it will also help you lose weight.