Reading Food Labels

Reading Food Labels

Reading Food Labels

Why is reading food labels so hard. In the local supermarket, you can usually find many manufacturers of the same type of food, especially in the boxed cereal aisle where Kelloggs and other brands are competing every day with who has the healthiest, lowest sugar cereal on the market…


Unfortunately, many manufacturers have forgotten about the consumer and have led them down the deception aisle…


Here is some advice that will help whilst you are out shopping…


The first thing to be aware of on a food label is the serving size. All the other specifications like calories, fat, sodium, etc. are based on the serving size. Of course, you can get only 1-2 grams of carbohydrate in some products if the serving size is the size of a pound coin, but we know good and well that many of us will eat 3-4 times that amount and increase our carbohydrate intake considerably. Depending on the other ingredients and what the food is, this could be a lot of carbohydrate for one serving…


The calories listed are for the serving size only, not the entire package. Of course, some items may say serving size: 1 bar or 2 – 1” pieces. Please be aware that the serving size is very important for you to determine how many calories are in that meal…


Carbohydrates, fats and proteins are listed by the weight in grams. For example, 5 grams of protein in one serving would have 20 calories for that serving:

1 gram of protein = 4 calories

1 gram of carbohydrates = 4 calories

1 gram of fat = 9 calories


The sodium on the food labels is something most people forget to look at. Unfortunately, many packaged products are loaded with sodium. Too much sodium in the diet can lead to water retention and possibly hypertension in some extreme cases. Be aware of a single serving size of sodium with 300 milligrams and above. The RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) is 2400 milligrams per day. This can be high if you are trying to lose weight or need to watch your blood pressure. One tablespoon of soy sauce has 2000 milligrams alone. Can you imagine how much sodium you take in during one dinner out for Chinese food…


Ingredients on the food label are listed in order of their weight per serving. For example, an item with high-sugar or high-fructose corn syrup as the first ingredient is going to be a high-sugar, high carbohydrate food, you would then want to look at the sugar content on the label and make sure the serving is less than 20 grams. If it is above that, be careful, sugar turns to fat if not used…


The fat content of food is usually broken down into total fat and saturated fat. The saturated fat, so check the ingredients for good sources of fats such as olive oil, avocados and nuts…


Remember, when reading a food label, there are many ways for a manufacturer to list sugars. Here are a few examples:








Corn Syrup


To determine the fat content in calories of a particular food, here is an example:


1 serving of peanut butter = 2 TBSP, calories = 190, Fat = 16 grams

1 gram of fat = 9 calories

16 X 9 = 144 calories in fat.



In conclusion, do not be a victim of all the manufacturer hype out there!! All the low fat, low sodium and fat-free products are causing consumers to add unwanted pounds to their bodies. Just because it says “FAT-FREE” does not mean that it is good for you.

Reading Food Labels
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