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Nutrition Fact Label: The Key to Good Health and Weight Loss!

Sep 3, 2008
Educate yourself about nutrition fact labels to help you achieve and maintain good health. The relevant information provided by these food labels makes it possible for you to quit guessing and estimating and start succeeding in the quest to reach your desired weight! Make this one of your most treasured tools to help you reach all of your wellness goals.

No other information on your nutrition fact label will be as important as the serving size and the number of servings per container! If you get this information incorrect, every other piece of information will be inaccurate as well. Always know how much you are consuming!

Another essential piece of information found on your label is the total calories and the number of calories from fat. In order to reach and maintain your ideal weight, you must expend more calories than you consume. A calorie is a unit of measure that tells you how much energy is provided per serving of that food. If your package provides two servings, and you eat both, you must double the information.

Next on the food labels are the nutrition numbers. Some of these are required and others are optional for manufacturers to include. Required ones consist of total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, total carbohydrates, dietary fiber, sugars, protein, cholesterol, and sodium. Optional items include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, potassium, vitamins, and minerals.

The food label is organized in such a way that you want to avoid too much of the nutrients listed first. Diets high in fats, cholesterol, and sodium can increase your risk of cancers, high blood pressure, and heart disease. The nutrients listed next are the ones you want to make sure you consume plenty of in your diet. Fiber, calcium, and vitamins A and C all promote good health.

Some Nutrition Fact Labels list a footnote at the bottom of each label. Some footnotes are complete and some are not, depending on the size of the label. The footnote simply lists, based on the 2,000-calorie diet, the recommended dietary amounts for all Americans. This information is standard and does not change from label to label.

The Percent Daily Value, or %DV, makes it very easy for us to make sure we consume 100% of our total nutrients. This percentage computes how much of each nutrient one serving provides. You don't have to eat 2,000 calories each day to benefit from this calculation.

You will notice that trans fat, protein, and sugars do not have %DV. Research links trans fat to high LDL cholesterol levels and should be avoided! %DV only has to be listed for protein if the product claims to be "high in protein" or if the product is for children under the age of four, and there is no daily recommended amount for sugar. Keep in mind that sugar has many synonyms, such as sucrose, fructose, maltose, lactose, honey, syrup, corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, molasses, or fruit juice.

Nutrition fact labels should be utilized whenever they are available. But what is one to do when they are not? A special food scale such as the Eat Smart Nutrition Scale would be an important addition to your wellness arsenal. This "food guidance system" provides the essential nutrients per measured portion for over 999 foods, just by entering a three-digit code. This extensive nutritional database makes it not only possible, but also easy to make wise food choices that will move you closer to achieving a healthy lifestyle.
About the Author
Gail M. Davis adds an easy guide to understanding and utilizing nutrition fact labels and much more on her site, Easy Weight Loss Tips. Check out the Eat Smart Scale to make wise food choices.
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