With all the information found on food labels these days, it may seem like you have to be a dietitian or mathematician to zero in on the facts and figures that matter most to you. But don't despair: just find your health goal below for the deciphering tricks that'll turn you inot a food lable pro in no time at all!
DO YOU WANT TO ......
Shed some pounds? Check the Calories.
Here is a good general guide:
40 is low 100 is moderate 400 or more is high
And don't forget to check the serving size: You be surprised at how many seemingly "single size" bags and boxes contain multiple servings!
Reduce Cholesterol? Home in on Fats.
Trans fat and saturated fat -- key players in raising blood cholesterol and the risk of heart disease -- are included in the total fat. Play it safe by picking foods with a total fat content measuring 5% or less. And avoid any foods with trans fat!
Lower your Blood Pressure? Look at Sodium
Foods with a sodium content that's 5% of your daily allowance or less are considered low-sodium and heart-healthy additions to your diet.
Improve your digestions? Zoom in on Fiber.
Eating enough fiber (particularly soluble fiber) can promote healthy bowel function. Look for labels with at least 10% as a "good" source of dietary fiber, or a 20% daily value or higher as an "excellent" source. Bonus: Soluble fiber also slows digestion and keeps you feeling fuller longer, helping you lose weight.
By following theses simple rules of thumb you will be able to master label reading to reach your long term health goals in no time at all and maybe even accelerate your loss weight plan without resorting to fad diets or unhealthy diet supplements.