The labels on cans and packages can be of great help in deciding on things like fat, calories, protein, and fiber; but unless you know how to read them correctly you can be misled.
Often the information is not for the whole item; but only a portion or a serving of the item.
Soft drinks often have 12 ounces in the can; but gives the information for only 8 ounces. Look for the words – serving size.
Reading labels is especially important for those who wish to lose weight; those who are diabetic, and those who have other health problems like high blood pressure or food allergies such as gluten.
Below are eight shopping mistakes to make you aware:
1. Did You Check the Serving Size? – Package looks like one serving but is more than one serving. Examples include: candy bars, bottles of tea and soda, snack packages of crackers and cookies. One 20 ounce bottle of tea says 90 calories per serving but since the bottle is 2.5 servings you are taking in 225 calories.
2. Are You Misled By the Title? - Lean, Natural, Organic, Energy, Grain - all of these words sound good, but are the Nutrition Facts on target for a food that is low in fat, salt and sugar?
3. Beware of Your Assumptions of “Healthy.” Turkey and chicken are not always healthful choices because they can be high in fat and sodium; some yogurt products are comparable to ice cream with their sugar and fat content!
4. “Sort of Healthy” Claims Not Backed Up By The Facts - Whole Grain and Reduced Fat may contain a lot of salt, fat and sugar.
5. Too Many Calories? - Look at the Nutrition Facts label for large items like cakes, packages
of cookies and some frozen dinners - how many total calories are you buying?
6. Too Much Sodium? - Check the daily value and try to find items that have 5% or less of the daily value for sodium, especially with canned goods, boxed rice and pasta mixes, frozen dinners and many grain products. .
7. Too Much Sugar? – soda, cereal - 4 grams of sugar = 1 teaspoon. A package of cereal that shows 12 g of sugar means that you are getting 3 teaspoons per serving!
8. Look At Saturated Fat and Trans Fat – Trans-fat free can be high in saturated fat!
Example of whole grain toaster pastry:
Package says: One serving of whole grain for a toaster pastry
Nutrition Facts says: Serving Size: 1 pastry (50 g). Servings Per Container: 8. Calories: 200 Calories from Fat: 63 multiply the above times 8 to get the correct total numbers. For example, the whole box contains 1600 calories – or just two contains 400 Calories.
% Daily Value: Total Fat 7g 11% Saturated Fat 2g 10% Trans Fat 0g Cholesterol 0mg 0% Sodium 170 mg 7% Total Carbohydrate 34 g 11% Dietary Fiber 3 g 12% Sugars 14 g Protein 3g There again these figures are for ONE PASTRY. The total fat for the whole box would be 88% Saturated fat, etc.
This breakfast treat contains 200 calories per 1.78 ounce pastry. It is calorie dense and high in fat and sugar for its size.
Consider: For comparison, oatmeal contains just 147 calories and 2 g of fat per cup (8 ounces)!
And one donut contains 190 calories with 11 grams of fat - so this breakfast pastry is similar to having a donut with regards to calories, fat and sugar.
Holiday eating usually means binge eating; and too much sugar, sodium, and other things which in an over abundance may very well be the reason why so many people get sick even weeks later.
Enjoy the holidays; but eat in moderation and eat smaller portions of things to insure better health. And read those labels according to service size.