Lets discuss how to read a nutrition food label, especially the new food label (right) that has been introduced and will be implemented on all labels July 2018! I am sure you have a million and one questions about how to exactly analyze a food label, so lets answer some of those FAQ.
1. What are the percentages under the Daily Value column? Each food label is based off a 2000 calorie diet, the daily value percentages will tell you how much of that serving you are consuming for each macro- or micronutrient. For example, the food label on the right states if you eat 1 serving of this food item you will have consumed 13% of your daily carbohydrates. If you subtract 13% from 100% you will see that you can consume up to, but not exceed 87% more CHO throughout the day. DISCLAIMER: Keep in mind, most people don't need to eat a 2000 calorie diet! TIP: Over 20% DV of one serving is considered a great amount of macro/micro x, and less than 5% of DV is considered a small amount of your daily total for that specific macro/micro.
2. Is the food label changing? Yes, by July of 2018 all food labels will look like the food label on the right.
a. Serving Sizes/Dual Columns: The new label will have a serving size accurate of the American diet. For example, ice cream will increase to 2/3 cup and a soda will now have a serving size of 12 oz. On top of the increase in serving sizes for specific items, there will also be a dual food label column for food items that can be consumed in one sitting, such as a pint of ice cream or a 24 oz. bottle of soda. DISCLAIMER: Just because you see a dual label, does not mean you should consume the entire food item!
b. Added Sugar: Added sugar is going to be added below the sugar content column. For many people, sugar on a food label is confusing, are they eating natural sugar or added sugar? This will help give you a visual of how much added sugar is in the food item. FACT: The more added sugar on a food label, the less natural and more processed the item. The FDA recommends that if you are to consume processed foods to consume less than or equal to 10% of added sugar daily.
c. Vitamins and Minerals: The vitamins and minerals are going to change from Vitamin A, C, Iron and Calcium to Vitamin D, Potassium, Calcium and Iron. More Americans are having problems with bone health, high blood pressure and chronic diseases in relation to lack of vitamin D and Potassium consumption.
4. Calories From Fat: This section will be removed from the food label due to research proving that the type of fat being consumed is more important than calories from fat.
3. What am I supposed to be looking at specifically? This is s a tricky question, because there are multiple things you should be looking at. You will definitely want to make sure you do not exceed your daily intake for each macronutrient (CHO, PRO, FAT), watch your added sugar intake, as well as your sodium intake, because sodium retains water and can add on the pounds from fluid weight, make you bloat and swell.
4. If I can't understand what half of the words on the ingredients list means, how am I supposed to know what's good for me? If you cannot pronounce or understand a word on the ingredients list, it is likely that food is processed and contains additives, food colorings, etc. The best way to avoid these harmful substances are to eat natural, fresh foods and stay away from packaged, bagged, canned or frozen meals.
Hidden sugar ingredient names:
The average healthy person should be consuming 45-65% of their daily calories from carbohydrates (vegetables, starches, and/or starchy vegetables); 10-35% protein (meat, eggs, beans, dairy products); 25-35% fat (walnuts, oils, avocados, fatty fish).
Another way to know is to take your weight and divide it by 2.2 to get your weight in kilograms (kg), then multiply your kg by .8. Example: 150/2.2 = 68 x .8 =54.4 grams per day