January 11, 2012
Week 1 Assignment 1
Understanding food labels is essential knowledge for eating healthily and for making sure that the proper nutrients are available in the food we consume every day. Nearly every packaged food item purchasable in the United States is labeled with the nutritional value by the Food and Drug administration. A few key elements exist to help us understand the nutrition on these labels. The 5/20 rule determines whether or not a food has a good source of a specific nutrient. If a food has 5 percent or less of a certain nutrient, then that specific food is not considered a good source of the nutrient. If a food has 20 or more percent of a certain nutrient, then it is considered a decent source of the nutrient. The rule doesn’t only apply to healthy nutrients, however. It also applies to undesirable nutrients. If there is an undesirable nutrient written on the food label, it is considered better if the unhealthy nutrient is under 5 percent, instead of 20 percent. For an in depth understanding of a food label, there are six helpful steps involved. The first step is analyzing the serving size. The size of the serving on the food package influences the number of calories and nutrient amounts listed on the top part of the label. If a package of chips had a serving size label of one cup and a total of two servings per bag, all of the nutritional information would double if you ate the entire bag. The second step is checking the amount of calories. The number of servings determines the number of calories you eat. Calories are essential to generating energy; however someone who wants to lose weight should consider lowering their caloric intake. Step three and four consist of limiting unhealthy nutrients and eating healthier nutrients. Nutrients to limit are saturated fat, Trans fat, cholesterol and sodium. Nutrients to consume more of consist of Vitamin A, Vitamin C,...