The 9 Most Common Mistakes to Avoid When Reading a Food Label

Nutrients

Fat, Sugar, Sodium and Carbohydrate

The sections on a food label shows the name of a nutrient and the amount of that nutrient provided by one serving of food. You may need to know this information, especially if you have high blood pressure, diabetes or are eating a diet that restricts certain nutrients such as sodium or carbohydrates.

Food labels also include information about how much sugar and protein is in the food. If you are following a low-sugar diet or you're monitoring your protein intake, it's easy to spot how much of those nutrients are contained in one serving.

Vitamins, Minerals and Other Information

The light purple part of the label lists nutrients, vitamins and minerals in the food and their percent daily values. Try to average 100% DV every day for vitamins A and C, calcium, iron and fiber. Do the opposite with fat, saturated fat, sodium and cholesterol. Try to eat less than 100% DV of these.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Reading a Food Label

Until you become accustomed to reading food labels, it's easy to become confused. Avoid these common mistakes when reading labels:

-A label may say that the food is reduced fat or reduced sodium. That means that the amount of fat or sodium has been reduced by 25% from the original product. It doesn't mean, however, that the food is low in fat or sodium. For example, if a can of soup originally had 1,000 milligrams of sodium, the reduced sodium product would still be a high-sodium food.

-Don't confuse the % DV for fat with the percentage of calories from fat. If the % DV is 15% that doesn't mean that 15% of the calories comes from fat. Rather, it means that you're using up 15% of all the fat you need for a day with one serving (based on a meal plan of 2,000 calories per day).

-Don't make the mistake of assuming that the amount of sugar on a label means that the sugar has been added. For example, milk naturally has sugar, which is called lactose. But that doesn't mean you should stop drinking milk because milk is full of other important nutrients including calcium.

Reading Label Lingo

In addition to requiring that packaged foods contain a Nutrition Facts label, the FDA also regulates the use of phrases and terms used on the product packaging. Here's a list of common phrases you may see on your food packaging and what they actually mean.

No fat or fat free - Contains less than 1/2 gram of fat per serving Lower or reduced fat: Contains at least 25 percent less per serving than the reference food. (An example might be reduced fat cream cheese, which would have at least 25 percent less fat than original cream cheese.)

Low fat - Contains less than 3 grams of fat per serving.

Lite - Contains 1/3 the calories or 1/2 the fat per serving of the original version or a similar product.

No calories or calorie free - Contains less than 5 calories per serving.

Low calories - Contains 1/3 the calories of the original version or a similar product.

Sugar free - Contains less than 1/2 gram of sugar per serving.

Reduced sugar - at least 25% less sugar per serving than the reference food.

No preservatives - Contains no preservatives (chemical or natural).

No preservatives added - Contains no added chemicals to preserve the product. Some of these products may contain natural preservatives.

Low sodium - Contains less than 140 mgs of sodium per serving.

No salt or salt free - Contains less than 5 mgs of sodium per serving.

High fiber - 5 g or more per serving (Foods making high-fiber claims must meet the definition for low fat, or the level of total fat must appear next to the high-fiber claim).

Good source of fiber - 2.5 g to 4.9 g. per serving.

More or added fiber - Contains at least 2.5 g more per serving than the reference food.

With a little practice, you will be able to put your new found knowledge about food labeling to work. Reassess your diet and decide what needs to be changed. Start by eliminating the foods that don't measure-up to your nutritional wants and needs, and replacing them with more nutritional substitutes.

And while you're at it, visit the FDA website and learn about the new labeling requirements, including those for "trans" fat. Like saturated fats, trans fats can raise levels of low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and increase your risk of heart disease. The "Nutrition Facts" panel on food packaging must provide this information beginning January 1, 2006, but most manufacturers will start providing it sooner.

The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to medically diagnose, treat or cure any disease. Consult a health care practitioner before beginning any health care program.

Emily Clark is editor at Lifestyle Health News and Medical Health News where you can find the most up-to-date advice and information on many medical, health and lifestyle topics.

In The News:

This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news

Business Wire (press release)

Make It a GOAL to Seek Good Nutrition
Business Wire (press release)
PHILADELPHIA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, one out of every eight U.S. households experiences food insecurity.1 Access to healthy food is an important socioeconomic factor, or social determinant, in one's health, ...

and more »

Forbes

PepsiCo Continues Health Kick, Reveals First Startups For Its ...
Forbes
PepsiCo's recent acquisitions and the startups it chose this week for its first U.S. Nutrition Greenhouse accelerator program are playing in the health and ...

and more »

Food Business News

New index highlights nutrition strengths, weaknesses of US companies
Food Business News
The publication of the U.S. Access to Nutrition Index (A.T.N.I.) and its U.S. Spotlight Index mark the first national assessment of the United States' 10 largest food and beverage manufacturers to addressing nutrition challenges. “With the launch of ...


SciDev.Net

Q&A: Nutrition solutions lie beyond health
SciDev.Net
The solutions to under-nutrition lie beyond healthcare, yet policy often doesn't take this into account, according to Zulfiqar Bhutta, Inaugural Chair in Global Child Health at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada, and founding director of ...


Kitsap Sun

Make-ahead gratin adds some nutrition to Thanksgiving comfort fare
Kitsap Sun
This dish mostly toes the line of tradition, falling squarely within two nutritional groups: comfort foods that contain cheese and healthy foods righteously packed with green stuff. It has just a little red pepper kick to wake up your mouth (and urge ...


Lima Ohio

Quinn on Nutrition: Defining grass-fed beef
Lima Ohio
One of my favorite activities from the back of a horse is helping my son-in-law with his cattle. This time of year as the cold weather sets in, he moves them from a far pasture to one closer to the barn. Then when the snow begins to fly, he supplements ...


FoodIngredientsFirst

IMCD opens Food & Nutrition application lab in Germany
FoodIngredientsFirst
15 Nov 2018 --- Chemical and food ingredients distributor IMCD N.V. has expanded its technical capabilities with a new Food & Nutrition application laboratory in Hürth, Germany. With this latest facility, IMCD Food & Nutrition will seek to support ...
IMCD opens new food application lab in Hürth, GermanyFoodBev.com

all 3 news articles »

The Patriot Ledger

Pesto paninis and healthy habits: Quincy seventh-graders learn about nutrition
The Patriot Ledger
QUINCY — Point Webster students got some pointers Wednesday morning on healthy nutrition, while also testing out their green-thumbs. Students in Lara Collier's seventh-grade class braved the wind and cold to plant cloves of garlic, which they were ...
Pesto paninis and healthy habits: Quincy 7th graders learn about nutritionWicked Local

all 4 news articles »

The Laconia Daily Sun

Enlighten Nutrition & Wellness next up for Patrick's 'Connect'
The Laconia Daily Sun
GILFORD — Patrick's Pub and Eatery will host Enlighten Nutrition & Wellness at their weekly networking event, Patrick's 'Connect,' on Thursday, Nov. 15, from 5-7 p.m.. Enlighten Nutrition & Wellness provides an array of services, including corporate ...


Positively Naperville

Nutrition Knowledge – Giving is receiving
Positively Naperville
“For It Is In Giving That We Receive”. – Francis of Assisi. In just a few weeks, we will pause to remember all that we are thankful for. One of the best ways that we can express our thankfulness is by giving back to others that are in need. “You cannot ...

Google News

The Isometric Diet and Balanced Health

The concept isometric has been a part of the health... Read More

Serious About Wanting To Improve Your Familys Healthy Eating Lifestyles?

Dr. Christine Wood, M.D, a practicing pediatrician in Encinitas, California,... Read More

Calorie Deficit

I am sure you have heard you have to build... Read More

3 Things You Want to Know About Cholesterol

You wouldn't judge a book by its cover, would you?You... Read More

Beginning an Alkaline Diet: The Basic Principles - Start Alkalizing Today!

Each and every person living in the UK is... Read More

Cholesterol Does Not Cause Heart Disease

Cholesterol is an essential building block of every cell in... Read More

Blueberry Picking Techniques

First of all you have to have a bucket. You... Read More

Is Organic Really Better for You?

I had finally come to a place in my life... Read More

You are Closer to Being Vitamin C Deficient Than You Think

Okay, so you think you are doing pretty well with... Read More

Juicing - A Beginners Guide

You can spot a juicer a mile off at the... Read More

Water And Good Hydration

The key to good hydration is drinking a lot of... Read More

Magnesium Deficiency Causes Personality Change and WLS Patients are at Risk

Have you ever felt like you were completely losing your... Read More

Childhood Epidemic Rises 6,000% What Can Be Learned About Autism?

The latest tallies show that over three million people in... Read More

How Does Glucosamine Chondroitin Help Your Body?

Glucosamine is readily produced in the human body and is... Read More

Inactive Alert: Essential Proteins for Sedentary People

The importance of protein in diet has been clearly established... Read More

Food with Niacin and The Benefits

Niacin, also called nicotinic acid, is a member of the... Read More

Fiber in a Nutshell?

There are numerous diets out there that guarantee that they... Read More

Fructose Short-Circuits Glycolysis

First some terminology.Fructose ... a five carbon sugar that occurs... Read More

Essential Fatty Acids - Americas Major Dietary Deficiency

America's major dietary deficiency - EFA a panacea for good... Read More

Must Have List Of Foods That Lower Cholesterol

Cholesterol is present in our bodies by one of two... Read More

What about Potassium?

Information on potassiumWhen you read about potassium and senate document... Read More

Why Digestive Enzymes Are Vital To Good Health!

Most digestive disorders develop because of the bodys inability to... Read More

Avocado - Ooh, What a Lovely Pear!

Many people avoid avocados thinking them to be fattening, but... Read More

Food thats Good for a Healthy Heart

Here's a conundrum: While experts agree that high cholesterol and... Read More

How Do You Know Your Nutrition is Working for You?

Please feel free to comment, so that the article may... Read More