2008, blog

BLOG: Reading Food Labels

FAT

Total fat shows how much fat is in a single serving of food. Although eating too much fat can lead to obesity and health problems, our bodies do need some fat every day. Fats are an important source of energy and provide insulation and cushioning for the skin, bones, and internal organs. Fat also distributes and helps the body store certain vitamins.

Fat is usually measured in grams. A good rule of thumb for keeping to the 30% calories from fat rule is to check the label and choose foods that have less than 3 grams of fat for every 100 calories in a serving.


EXAMPLE:
Calories 100

Fat 3g

(100 * 3% = 3) GOOD


Calories 150g

Fat 4.5g

Calories from Fat 45g 

(150 * 3% = 4.5) GOOD

(150 * 30% = 45) GOOD


Saturated Fat

Some fats are better than others. Unsaturated fats, which are found in vegetable oils, nuts, and fish, are often called”good fats.“ That’s because they don’t raise cholesterol levels like saturated fats and trans fats do. Both saturated and trans fats are considered “bad” because they can increase a person’s risk for developing heart disease. These types off at are solid at room temperature (picture them clogging your arteries).

Saturated fats usually come from animal products like cheese, meats, and ice cream. Trans fats are naturally found in these foods too, but they are also in vegetable oils that have been specially treated(hydrogenated) so they are solid at room temperature — like shortening.The amount of saturated and trans fats that are in a food are shown below total fat on the nutrition facts label. Less than 10% of calories should come from saturated fats and keep trans fats as low as possible.


EXAMPLE

Calories 150g

Fat 4.5g

Calories from Fat 45g

Saturated Fat 1.5g

(150 * 3% = 4.5) GOOD

(150 * 30% = 45) GOOD

(150 * 10% = 15) 1.5 is less than 15 = GOOD


Sugar

How Much Sugar is Too Much?

The 10 percent rule

According to the World Health Organization, no more than 10 percent of calories should come from added sweeteners. This advice is in line with the long-standing recommendations of the US Department of Agriculture(USDA) food pyramid, which called for a maximum of 12 teaspoons of sugar (48 grams) in a 2,200-calorie diet – or roughly 9 percent of daily calories. Current USDA guidelines, revised in 2005, simply say to limit these calories.

In a diet composed of 2,000 daily calories, that would amount to about 200 calories, or 50 grams of sugar. Now you have another reason to check nutrition labels. Thanks to them, it’s easy to find out the sugar content of common foods from candy bars to breakfast cereals. Those labels are definitely worth a read because the numbers can be surprising: A single bowl of Frosted Mini Wheats contains three teaspoons (12 grams) of sugar; some raisin bran contains 20 grams; a32-ounce sports drink can contain 19 teaspoons (76 grams) of sugar, and a 20-ounce Fruitopia fruit drink can pack nearly 18 teaspoons (71 grams) of sugar – nearly one and a half times as much as you should have in one day.


EXAMPLE

**I took the example numbers from Kellogg’s new MINI Muffin Tops (inspired by that Seinfeld episode) hahaha. 

Calories 150g

Fat 4.5g

Calories from Fat 45g

Saturated Fat 1.5g

Sugar 9g

(150 * 3% = 4.5) GOOD

(150 * 30% = 45) GOOD

(150 * 10% = 15) 1.5 is less than 15 = GOOD

(150 * 10% = 15) 9 is less than 15 = GOOD

Content Sources:

Teen Health

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