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Food Labels Understanding Food Labels Nutritional Facts Diet Food Labels 101

Ever go to the store to pick up your favorite snack only to flip it over and feel like you’re reading a dictionary? Most people do not know how to properly read food labels, but don’t worry, these tips will help.

To begin with, the most common mistake people make when reading the food label is that they look at the calories and the fat located at the top of the label. Usually they will see it has a small amount of calories and fat and think to themselves that what they’re getting isn’t so bad. What many people fail to realize is that all of the nutritional facts located on this label are per serving size, not the entire package. So for example if a bag of chips has a calorie content of 50 calories and 10 grams of fat per serving size, but the bag holds 2 servings that means that if you eat the whole bag you’re actually getting 100 calories and 20 grams of fat. These can be tricky! And that little snack you thought was low calorie could be what’s adding inches to your waist line.

The next mistake to talk about is fat. Now most people hear the word “fat” and immediately think it’s a bad thing. This couldn’t be further from the truth! Fats in moderation are very healthy for you and should be a part of every balanced diet. Monounsaturated fats are good for lowering your LDL cholesterol while at the same time boosting your HDL cholesterol. Now on the other hand not all fat is good either. Trans fats are the ones you want to try and monitor closely. The reason being is because trans fats are linked to heart disease and other health problems. So when reading these labels don’t be scared away by the fat content. Just make sure you’re getting the right kinds of fats!

Third, one of the nutritional facts that almost everyone skims over is sodium. It’s just salt right? What harm could that do? Well research has shown that too much sodium in a persons diet can lead to a whole number of health risks. Such as high blood pressure, stroke, and even heart attacks. Now don’t let this discourage you from buying the food. But a person should be aware of the sodium content in the food they eat. Make sure to drink plenty of water to keep your body flushed from excess sodium buildup.

Last but not least, the most crucial nutritional facts to pay attention to are carbohydrates and protein. These two are your building blocks for building more muscle and increasing your energy levels from day to day. Carbohydrates are a lot like gasoline for a car. Without enough gasoline you aren’t going to get very far, and you could damage the engine as well. Many people with an unbalanced diet find themselves tired and sluggish throughout the day and simply don’t know why. One of the reasons could be that they don’t have enough carbohydrates. Basically what carbohydrates do is create glucose for the body to be used, or stored as energy.

One of the best kinds of carbs you can get are complex carbs. Basically what these kinds of carbs will give you is starch and dietary fiber to help with digestion and basic bodily functions. A good source of complex carbs would be potatoes, cereals, and fruits.

Now this is where a shopper really wants to pay attention! The last nutritional fact marked on the label is protein. When looking at the protein content just remember more is always better. The more protein you have in your diet, the more muscle you will build. Protein is one of the most vital nutrients to eat when you’re trying to put on muscle or even shed those extra pounds! Protein along with carbohydrates will not only give you energy but it will also help with gene growth. Just as a rule of thumb, experts say that a person should intake one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. So if a woman weighs 140 pounds then her daily intake of protein should be right around 140 grams.

In conclusion, reading food labels and understanding them correctly can be a daunting task at first. But the more you do it the easier it gets. Fat loss and muscle growth become much easier to track once you know how much of everything you’re putting into your body. Remember that in the long run that a balanced diet and frequent exercise lead to a healthier and happier life!