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Do you know what nutrition labels are?
Most of us have probably seen them without really knowing how to interpret them. First we must start by understanding what they are. Today, I will explain how to read them and what information is important to read.
Nutrition labels are the information about what a food or product contains and they are posted on most of the world’s products. These labels are composed of data that food companies must offer about their products. It is fundamental that we know how to read and understand them as they are one of the greatest weapons we have to defend ourselves from the food industry’s deceptions.
We tend to believe that eating certain products classified as “healthy”, “0% sugar” or “0% fat” are better than others. In reality they are from being so. The companies responsible for making these products know that by adding labels such as “light” they are directly targeting a consumer’s need/desire to lose weight and thus trick them into continuing to buy said product. For example, a muffin that says it has no added sugar doesn’t make it healthy. If a loaf of bread says it contains 8 varieties of cereal and the first ingredient is not whole wheat flour, it’s not whole wheat. If a product says “low fat”, or “light” it means that it only has 30% less calories than the original product. Do you see what I mean? This is why it is important to know what the nutritional information on a product is really saying.
4 Things We Must Look at When Buying Food:
- List of ingredients: its order goes from higher to lower regarding how much of an ingredient it contains, except those that have a single ingredient. In living a healthy diet, this is the most important part of knowing how to read the labels, because this is where the infamous E numbers appear – the codes assigned to additives –
- Allergens: those ingredients that can cause intolerances for some people, such as peanuts, gluten or other nuts.
- Expiration date: period in which the product retains its properties and also identifies when it is no longer safe to consume the product.
- Country of origin: where the product is from.
- Nutritional Information: the energy value of the food per 100 grams and the percentage compared to the recommended daily amount.
Breakdown of Nutritional Information.
- Serving size: indicates how many calories go into each serving. A common mistake is that people often think a serving size is the amount people usually eat, but really it’s usually much less than what is actually being consumed.
- Kilocalories: Calories are a unit of energy that is commonly used to measure the energy power of food and are not usually exact. Rather they’re approximations adapted to the serving size. In a natural lifestyle, we don’t count calories because eating is not based on weight loss. However, we should know the amount of calories per 100 grams, if a product has more than 200Kcal per 100 grams it’s very caloric, if it has less than 100 Kcal per 100 grams it’s low
- Fats: how many grams of fat there are per 100 grams of food is important to know but, what is more important is knowing how to verify what kind of fat they are.If the food contains partially or totally hydrogenated fats, it means that it contains trans fats that are harmful to our health.
- Carbohydrates: similarly, it is measured per 100 grams or per serving size and details how many grams of those hydrates come from sugars.
Understanding This Well Means, Eating Better.
Knowing this information is vital to living a healthy lifestyle because understanding this data helps us to make healthier decisions. Living a natural lifestyle, makes it easier to avoid label confusion because processed products are much more limited than in any other type of diet. Lean proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables and other organic foods make up our meals. By being natural we do not have to make an effort to understand the complexities of any food and we don’t have the need to count calories because we know we are giving our body nutrients.