Tip. What should I look for in a nutrition facts label?

We recommend to always look for the portion size; all the nutrition facts label are based on it. Lots of packages do contain more than only one portion.

As an example, a portion size of noodles usually is 60 grams when raw, or 1 cup when cooked. So, if you have 2 cups in one meal you are actually getting 2 portions of it, means twice the calories and fats and so the rest of the of the elements listed in the label.

Then, we do recommend to verify the total carbohydrates. Usually they are mark in bold to highlight them and they are measured in grams (g). The total carbohydrates are consist of sugar, starch and vegetable fiber. Sugar can also appear in separated part. And all these carbs can increase the levels of blood sugar.

If you suffer from diabetes, you should consider the total quantity of carbohydrates in the food.

Vegetable fiber normally appears under the total quantity of carbohydrates. We do recommend to choose those food with 3 to 4 grams or less of vegetable fiber for each portion. Some food with high fiber levels are wholemeal bread, fruits, and vegetables.

The caloric value information indicates the total number of calories in one portion. You can adjust the number of calories that you consume depending if you eat either smaller or bigger portions. This number helps you to determinate how foods are affecting your weight.

You can verify the total fat contained in a portion. Pay attention to the saturated fat included in one portion.

Be careful to chose those with low saturated fat. As an example, pick up skim milk or at 1% or 2% instead of whole milk. Skim milk has a low quantity of saturated fat, while whole milk has 5 grams of it on each portion.

Fish meat has a lower level of saturated fat than beef. 85 grams of fish meat contain less than 1 gram of this fat type.

If the food contains less than 0.5 grams of saturated fat in one portion size according the label, then the producer is allowed to indicate that the product does not contain saturated fat. Please keep this information in mind when getting more than one portion.

You should also pay attention to the trans fat when checking the nutrition fact labels. These fat types can increase the level of bad cholesterol and decreases the good one in blood. Frequently, they are found in snacks and desserts kind of food. Many fast-food restaurants use these fats to fry some of their products.

If the product does contain trans fats, the quantity will be listed below the total fat one. The fat is measured in grams. We do recommend to look for those foods with non trans fat, or for those which contain a level of 1 gram or less in it.

Sodium is the main ingredient found in salt, and this is of main importance for those who are looking to reduce salt consumption.

If a nutrition fact label indicates that a product has 100 mg of sodium, it means that it has 250 mg of salt, approximately. You should consume less than 2,300 mg of sodium a day. Please ask your physician if you shall consume less than that.

The percentage of the daily value is included on the label as a guide.

The percentage of every item on the label it is based on a person who consumes 2,000 calories a day. Your goals will be different if you eat more or less than 2,000 calories a day. A nutritionist or a physician can help you set your own nutritional goals.

Source: Medline Plus.