What Do Food Nutrition Labels Tell You

 
13-Sep-2010 by

Learn more on food nutrition labels and what they tell us.

Whenever I pick up any food product, I turn it around to see its food label – sometimes just due to habit and sometimes to ensure that I am picking up the right product. What do food nutrition labels tell you? If you too keep checking the nutrition labels of food products, do you know what you are checking or rather what you should be checking?

Nutrition labels and their story is all about its different ingredients and nutrition contents – this helps buyers to know how much nutrition they shall get when they consume that food. Suppose, you find that your favorite cereal is loaded with vitamins and you are very happy – check its sugar content! It is possible that your favorite food is loaded with sugar content.

Food labels got regulated in the year 1994. Earlier  food companies could print information anywhere they wanted to. After being regulated companies have to follow a format and place all information in a very structured way so that helpful and necessary information could be included in the labels. The nutrition information needs to be in a set size and in a very organized manner. When you are checking out food labels, it means Food labels appear in food packs - offering every kind of information required by usersyou are going through nutritional information as well as information on various ingredients of the food product. Every such information needs to be provided in the food label in a standard size and shape. The shape is usually rectangular and is normally labeled as ‘Nutrition facts’. In such a box, you will find every type of nutritional information which is related to the product and is normally listed as per its importance.

In the year 1994 – US Department Of Agriculture and FDA ensured the following:
• Labels offer information on how food is fit for the regular diet of any individual.
• Labels also include information on nutrition per serving. It includes information on how much fat is contained in the food, how much dietary fiber is contained and other information related to nutritional content...such as minerals and vitamins.
• Information is usually expressed in common measures.
• It will tell you how much people will be actually eating.
• It includes terms such as ‘low calorie’, ‘fat free’ and ‘light’ to meet the regulations of the government.

FDA and also USDA regulate information on different health claims which is mentioned on the labels. Whenever, a food claims to be ‘light’ or ‘lite’ or ‘low fat’ on the label, it means that strict government definitions have been complied with so that the claim can be made. Foods which are normally labeled ‘USDA organic’ are generally required to have at least 95% of the organic ingredients.

Guide on Good Eats
Labels offer you enough information so that you are able to calculate your calories intake along with intake of other nutrients. You might eat a sugary cereal, but you will have to compensate it by not eating much sugar the rest of the day. If you are able to check the food labels, you will be guided on how much food you consume in a day and also how much calories you have.

Image courtesy: ibtimes.co, stickers-labels.co.uk

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