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Reading Nutrition Labels

Sometimes nutrition labels can be confusing and leave you with more questions than answers. Have you ever wondered what a recommended daily percentage is? Or whether a product is really fat free or low in sodium?

Companies are closely regulated when it comes to making statements about the food they sell. Check out our easy-to-follow breakdown of nutrition labels:

1. Check the serving size. This is what the entire label is based on. This tells you how much everything equals. It can range from five pieces or the whole package. This also explains how many servings are in the product. It's an easy gage to base the rest of the information.

2. See the calories. Now that you know what counts as serving, you can see how many calories a serving equals. If you are trying to cut back on fat, note of how many calories come from fat.

3. Keep an eye out. Try to limit the amount of total fat, cholesterol and sodium.

4. Percentage per serving. Strive to have low daily values of fat, cholesterol and sodium. Aim for higher daily values of dietary fiber and vitamins. 5% of daily value is low. 20% or more is high.

5. Package claims. Fat free means there are less than 0.5 grams of fat per serving. Low fat means, there are 3 grams of fat or less per serving. Low saturated fat is 1 gram of fat or less per serving.

6. Lean and light. Lean equals less than 10 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat and 95 milligrams of cholesterol per serving. A light product has 1/3 less calories or no more that 1/2 the sodium of a regular product.

7. Sodium free, low sodium and very low sodium. Sodium free equals less than 5 milligrams of sodium per serving. Low sodium has less than 140 milligrams of sodium per serving. Very low sodium has less than 35 milligrams of sodium per serving.

8. Cholesterol free and low cholesterol. Cholesterol free has less than 2 milligrams of cholesterol or 2 grams or less of saturated fat per serving. Low cholesterol has less than 20 milligrams of cholesterol per serving.

9. Good Source. This indicates that a serving contains 10% to 19% of the daily value of a nutrient.




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