Be Smart - Understanding Food Labels and Nutrition FactsWritten by Patty Poon, M.Sc. last updated: May 2006Grocery shopping and reading labels are a delight for some and a real headache for others. Regardless of how you feel about them, determining whether a particular food product fits into your healthy diet plan has become easier. In addition to listing the amounts of macronutrients (fat, protein and carbohydrate including fiber), a food label may also indicate vitamin and mineral content of the product. This provides good information to help a consumer determine if a particular food product meet his or her nutritional needs.What is on A Nutrition Facts Label?Food labels are designed to help consumers make healthy food choices. In 1990, the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act went into effect. The USDA and the FDA developed these guidelines so that consumers would have access to useful nutritional information to help make smart choices.But how do you make sense of a food label?According to the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act, all packaged food products must contain the following information: * Common name of the product * Name and address of the product's manufacturer * Net contents in terms of weight, measure or count, and * Ingredient list and Nutrition Facts Components of a Nutrition Facts panel
Nutrition FactsCommon nutrients, such as total fat, cholesterol, and sodium, are required fields. Other nutrients, such as potassium and Vitamin K, are optional and not required to be listed. Each package must identify the quantities of specified nutrients and food constituents for one serving. It is important to note the following: * 1 g of fat = 9 kcal * 1 g of protein = 4 kcal * 1 g of carbohydrate = 4 kcal * 1 g of alcohol = 7 kcalServing SizeServing sizes are standardized to make for easier comparison among similar food items. They are expressed in both common household and metric measures. It is always important to pay attention to a...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document