December 19th, 2013

Understanding Nutrition Facts Labels – Quick Guide

Our past few blog posts have been encouraging you to look past the marketing schemes on the front labels of food packaging, and instead, to pay more attention to the nutrition facts. We?didn’t?exactly go into specific about the nutrition facts label itself, so now is our chance! With Christmas around the corner, we can?t really convince you?to feast lightly, especially on a holiday. However, with New Year?s Day approaching shortly after, that means New Year?s Resolutions should be lingering at the back of your head. Making it a goal to check nutrition facts labels should definitely be something you should start doing this coming year, if you haven?t already. With that said, we have a quick guide to give you the basics using our Wildfire Buffalo Chicken Sausage nutrition facts label!
nutrition-label

A. Serving Size & Servings Per Container
Read this carefully. The nutritional information listed on the label is based off 1 serving of the food product. The servings per container will tell how many servings the package actually has. Many may contain more than 1 serving.

B.?Nutrients
Depending on the servings per container, each of these values may need to be multiplied to know the values for the entire package. If you eat more than one serving but not the full package, you will still need to multiply the values and the % daily values based on the amount of servings you consume.

For example, our Wildfire Buffalo Chicken Sausage:
Calories: 70 per serving; so consuming all 5 links will give you 70 x 5 = 350 calories.
Total Fat: 2.5 grams per serving; all 5 links will give you 2.5 x 5 = 12.5 grams of fat

C.?Nutrients to Limit
We should note that Fat, Cholesterol & Sodium should be nutrients that you try to limit, because they can increase your risk of certain diseases.
Total Fat: no more than 56 -78 grams a day
Saturated Fat: no more than 16 grams a day
Trans Fat: should be avoided altogether
Cholesterol: less than 300 mg a day
Sodium: the lower the sodium, the better

D. Percent (%) Daily Value
These percentages tell how 1 serving of the given food contributes to the daily total in a 2000-calorie diet. 5% or less is generally low, while 20% of more is high.

E. Nutrients You Need to Get Enough Of
Try to get 100% of the fiber, vitamins, and nutrients every day. To be more specific, you should try to get adequate amounts of calcium, dietary fiber, Vitamins A & C, and potassium. These are especially important for your health.

F. Ingredients List
As stated earlier, you should avoid trans fat altogether. One thing to look for in the ingredients list is the presence of partially hydrogenated oils. If such an ingredients exists, then the food will give you some trans fat. Items at the beginning of the ingredients list are those that are more abundant in the food product, while those towards the end are present in lesser quantities.
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