Top Five Items To Check on Food Labels

Even a busy shopper can likely find the time to check these top five items on a food label.

A product's nutrition facts label is packed with information to help you make informed healthy choices. And even a busy shopper can likely find the time to check the following five important items:

1. Serving size. Consult serving size and servings per container to help determine a proper portion. Also note that the information that follows serving size, including calories and nutrient information, pertains to a single serving of the given food. That means if a single serving is one cup of chips for instance, the nutrient information listed is for that one cup. If you consume two cups, you're consuming twice the number of calories, fat, sodium, etc.

2. Ingredient list. The ingredient list notes ingredients in order of weight. Even reading just the first few ingredients will tell you the majority make-up of a food. For instance, is the first ingredient in a certain cereal wheat or is it sugar? 

3. Calories. A calorie is a measurement of energy. Weight management is basically balancing the number of calories you consume with the number you burn through daily activities and exercise. However, not all calories are created equal; some calories provide more nutritional bang for the bite so to speak. 

4. Nutrient information. Take a look at the number of grams or milligrams of fat, cholesterol, sodium and other nutrients found in a serving of a given food. 

5. Daily values. The daily value percent listed on food labels is based on recommended dietary allowance. Daily value of 5 percent or less is considered low. Daily value of 20 percent or more is considered high.

To learn more about healthy eating, talk with a doctor or registered dietitian. To find a doctor, use our online Find a Physician service or call us at 1-855-80PLAZA for a physician referral.

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