Food Labels : Food Labels Percent Daily Value : Percent Daily Value These percentages show the amounts of nutrients an average person will get from eating one serving of that food. Food labels use the "average" person as someone who needs 2,000 calories a day.
So if the label on a particular food shows it provides 25% of vitamin D, that 25% is for a person who eats 2,000 calories a day. Sodium : Sodium Sodium is a part of salt. Almost all foods contain sodium because it adds flavor and helps preserve food.
Processed, packaged, and canned foods usually have more sodium than freshly made foods.
Small amounts of sodium keep proper body fluid balance. But, too much sodium can increase water retention and blood pressure in people who are sensitive to it. Carbohydrate : Carbohydrate The best sources of carbohydrates are fruits and vegetables, along with whole-grain foods like cereals, breads, and whole-wheat pasta.
Look for foods that have carbohydrates with more fiber and less sugar. Sugar : Sugar Sugars is another carbohydrate that is found in most foods. When a food contains lots of sugar, the calories can add up quickly.
Soda, snack foods and other foods that are high in added sugar are considered "empty calories" because they usually don't offer a lot of other nutrients Sneaky Sugar : Sneaky Sugar Checking sugar quantities on labels can be really eye opening. Often there's way more than you'd expect!
For example, sometimes manufacturers cut back on fat but add sugar to keep a food tasting good. With a little label study, you may notice that some low-fat foods have nearly as many calories as their regular versions.
This is a label for a fast food meal, no candy here but look at the amount of sugar! 64 g Fiber : Fiber Fiber, another kind of carbohydrate, helps keep your digestive system healthy.
Fiber can also help reduce cholesterol levels.
Best of all, fiber has no calories and it can help you feel full.
So check the label and pick foods that have at least 3 grams of fiber per serving. Protein : Protein Most of the body — including muscles, skin, and the immune system — is made up of protein.
If the body doesn't get enough fat and carbohydrates, it can use protein for energy.
So be sure the foods you eat give you some protein. Vitamins and Minerals : Vitamins and Minerals You want to choose foods that are high in a variety of vitamins and minerals.
The FDA requires food manufacturers to include information about vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium and iron.
Remember, like we learned in the earlier lessons some vitamins — like vitamin C — are water soluble, which means that the body can't store them so they need to be consumed daily. Slide 10: Food labels can't tell you what foods to eat, that's your decision…
….but they can help you find foods that taste good and treat your body right.