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Understanding Labels and Health Claims
At home, you can eat only what is available. For your weight management program to be successful, you must master the art of low-fat shopping. If what you have in your refrigerator and cupboards is junk food, chances are you'll eat that in place of healthy, low-fat foods that satisfy and provide energy.
Before you head to the store, you should have a clear understanding of how to read labels so you can make the healthiest, wisest choices of foods you will enjoy. The following are key words for properly understanding food product labels:
Serving size: The amount of food the information refers to.
Servings per container: The number of servings in the entire product or package.
Percent daily values: Shows how a food fits into an overall daily diet based on a daily intake of 2,000 calories.
Calories: The total number of calories in one serving of this food.
Calories from fat: The total number of calories from fat in one serving of this food.
Total fat: The weight of fat (in grams) in one serving of this food.
Saturated fat: The weight of saturated fat (in grams) in one serving of this food.
Sodium: The weight of sodium (in milligrams) in one serving of this food.
Protein: The weight of protein (in grams) in one serving of this food.
Total carbohydrates: The weight of both complex and simple carbohydrates (in grams) in one serving of this food.
Sugars: The weight of simple carbohydrates (in grams) in one serving of this food; to find out how many complex carbohydrates are in the food simply subtract sugars from total carbohydrates.
After you have a clear understanding of the key label words, there are five other important values you will want to consider before concluding that the food product is a healthy, low-fat food.
1. Check the List of Ingredients:
2. Pay Attention to Total Fat and Saturated Fat:
3. Figure Out the Percentage of Calories from Fat:
To calculate the fat percentage of the food:
This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use this material to diagnose or treat a health condition or disease without consulting with your healthcare provider.
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