Why should You Care to Read Nutrition Facts Food Labels Before Buying Off The Shelf Food Products?



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MenuSano Nutrition Analysis Software

  • Author: What is mindful eating and what are the benefits of mindful eating?
  • Published: 6/1/2018 2:38:56 PM

Food Label

 

Why should You Care to Read Nutrition Facts Label Before Buying Off The Shelf Food Products?

Food labeling is one of the most essential components of US food-based industry. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a proper guideline for food labeling undertaken by the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. According to this guideline, all the nutritional value should be mentioned for every prepared and packed food items, including bread, canned products, frozen items, cereals, snacks, drinks, desserts, etc.  However, labeling of nutritional details for raw food items such as fruit, vegetable or fish is optional as these are considered as conventional food items. The FDA does regular monitoring of the food labeling criteria and performs amendments according to the requirement. In addition, FDA also provides regular guidance to the food industry for any addition or deletion of information in the labeling, depending upon the nature of the item. Adherence to this regulation further helps the general public to know the nutritional fact from the labeling during the selection of food items for their family. Eating exact proportion and maintaining balanced energy level are the two key factors of 'right eating', which help to achieve proper body weight.

Basic Parameters Of Nutrition Fact Label

Nutrition fact label helps to maintain better eating habit and attain balanced energy level. It is observed that most of the favorite food items possess high energy level due to increased fat content. Nutritional fact labeling helps to select some alternative, which can satisfy taste with a balanced pattern.  Therefore, the basic importance of Nutrition fact label is to promote the selection of foods that can provide low calories, less saturated fats, and refined carbohydrate content. The basic parameters which are required for the use of nutrition fact label are as follows:  

  • Serving Size and Calorie Content

In nutritional fact label, one of the foremost things require to check are serving size. This signifies the number of serving in that particular package. If the package contains multiple serving, then the nutritional fact label also mentions the detailed nutritional information per serving. This makes it easy to calculate the calorie intake, as well as Percent Daily Value of each nutrient. Percent Daily Value denotes per day requirement of a particular nutrient. This information obtained from nutritional fact label also help to preserve the balanced diet requirement per day.

  • Source Of The Calorie

It is very important to check the source of the calorie, which may be protein, fat or carbohydrate. It is evident that high-calorie diet is not clinically advisable to any individual leading a normal lifestyle. If a food item is a rich source of vitamins and minerals, then it is easy to decide which is much healthier than the other. 

  • Added Sugar Content

Added sugar content increases the calorie level, without adding any health benefits. Therefore, it is necessary to check nutritional food label for getting the information about the added sugar level. Addition of some of the ingredients like glucose, sucrose, fructose, maple syrup, and corn syrup, in any preparation, is considered as added sugar. Such additions remain clearly mentioned in the nutritional fact label.

  • Type of Fat Present

Chemical nature of fat is not same and their metabolic process in the body also varies. Saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol are considered as unhealthy food ingredients, which increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Any food items, which contains more than 20 Percent Daily Value or higher of these fat contents are considered as a high fat containing foods, whereas 5 Percent Daily Value or lower of these fat contents are considered as a low fat containing foods. Experts suggest that one should maintain total fat intake between 20% to 35% of calories.

  • Low Sodium and High Potassium Intake

High Sodium intake i.e. more than 2,300 milligrams (almost one teaspoon of salt) increases the risk of hypertension. Processed food items are a rich source of sodium, therefore the nutritional information of processed food items assists to calculate the exact sodium value. Instead of sodium, potassium-rich food items such as tomatoes, potatoes, banana and orange juice can terminate sodium effect and help to maintain blood pressure level. Therefore, fresh and natural food items are healthier than the processed food items.

Importance of Nutritional Fact Label

Our body weight depends upon energy consumption and energy burn process. The nutritional requirement varies from individual to individual depending on their age, sex, physical activity level and health conditions. The basic relationship between body weight and energy consumption through the intake of food can be explained as:

The outcome of the same amount of energy consumption through eating an equal amount of energy burning through physical activity provides stagnant body weight; whereas the increased amount of energy consumption than energy burning causes weight gain and vice versa condition leads to weight loss. Therefore, information about the energy per serving of particular food items is an important factor to maintain appropriate body weight.

Nutritional fact label provides the information of calories intake per serving. Therefore, it helps to select the food product with less fat content and lower energy level. Depending upon the calorie content, foods are classified as:

  1. Go food - such as fresh fruits and vegetables, which we can eat any time.
  2. Slow Food - Vegetables prepared with cheese or sauce, which can be consumed occasionally.
  3. Once in a while food (WHOA) - Canned fruits with excessive added sugar

Therefore, nutritional fact label helps to select the food item depending upon the above-mentioned classification. Most of us enjoy outdoor foods. Nutritional fact label help to order such food items, which are lower in calorie, and free from added sugar and high fat-containing food. This can support in consuming a healthy outdoor meal. We know high fat containing foods are not good for our health as they provide extra calorie; therefore, some of us may think that the reduced-fat or fat-free foods are best options for healthy eating; but some reduced-fat or fat-free foods supply almost equal amount of calories as the regular food. For example, 113 calories can be obtained from per serving of the baked tortilla chips; whereas 143 calories are obtained from the same amount of regular tortilla chips.

 

Nutritional fact label provides the information about the source of the calorie in each packed food item and helps to select right food for right eating. Sugar moiety like fructose, lactose, etc. are commonly present in the natural food sources like fruits milk etc. Different processed packed food items contain added sugar to enhance the taste of the product. However, these excess carbohydrates are unable to provide any nutritional benefits but increase the calorie content of the food, which is not at all advisable for healthy eating. Nutritional fact label provides the information about the added sugar and we can easily avoid selecting those products to maintain proper body weight.

Nutrition Facts Label

Some individuals have a food allergy to some specific food ingredients like soy, nuts, milk, gluten etc. which causes allergic reactions. Nutritional fact label also provides information about the presence of this kind of ingredients in any packed food items. This can help to select the suitable product for food allergen susceptible individuals. FDA also provides a specific guideline to highlight allergen specification in the Nutritional fact label.

Nutritional fact label is also useful to select the organic food products. The 'USDA organic seal' is indicative about organic produce. Nutritional fact label also specifically provide information about the alcohol content in any beverages or food items. Nutritional fact label is an easily accessible and understandable way to get information about any packed food items. Therefore, it is always advisable to check the detailed Nutrition fact label information to select right food for right eating and uphold health.

Today, We are one of the most health conscious generation of all time. Nutritional food plays an important role of our oval all well being. MenuSano is one such tool, which help rest restaurants and individuals to generate nutrition fact labels. Try it for free. 

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MenuSano Nutrition Analysis Software