06 Dec Understanding food labels
Since manufacturers are required by law to label all foods, with the exception of certain foods (meat, fish, poultry, vegetables and fresh fruits, etc.), consumers are in a position to make better choices for their health.
This requires understanding the different elements found in the Nutrition Facts table for a specific quantity of food product. The nutritional information for each item is based on the volume of that portion. If your portions are more generous, you must adjust the quantities proportionately.
The Nutrition Facts table can help you compare similar foods by paying special attention to the amount and type of lipids (fat), fiber and sodium content, as well as vitamins, calcium and iron. Per cent of daily value (% DV) allows you to choose foods that are healthier and to see if a food contains few (5% DV or less) or a lot (15% DV or more) of these nutrients .
Lipids (fat) represent a significant part of the calories in our diet. It is therefore important to limit its consumption and understand how different types of fat (polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, saturated and trans) affect your cardiovascular health. Saturated fats, especially trans fats, should be kept to a minimum as they increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
A diet rich in fiber plays a predominant role in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, certain cancers (colon cancer), in addition to helping regulate intestinal function and to control blood sugar levels. A sufficient intake of fibers provides a satiety effect, a not insignificant effect during a diet. On the other hand, sugar intake must be limited. Sugar, whatever its nature, remains sugar. Moderation is always the best solution.
To be in good health we need a minimum intake of 1500 mg sodium per day and our maximum intake should not exceed 2300 mg per day. Sodium (salt) taken in excessive amounts can cause high blood pressure and increase the risk of stroke, heart disease and kidney disease. So we have to limit the amount of sodium in our diet.
The list of ingredients is useful if you suffer from food allergies. It allows you to recognize a specific ingredient in the list. The ingredients are ranked in descending order of weight: which means that the content of the first ingredient is the most important and the last ingredient is the least important.
Healthy Weight Clinic invites you, as part of a healthy lifestyle, to use the Nutrition Facts table to make better food choices. You can reach us on our website at www.healthyweightclinic.ca, by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org or on our toll-free line at 1-888-853-9898