Should you Read a Nutrition Label? Are they Misleading?

Nutrition labels are important to understand, no matter the lifestyle you choose. The importance is not only in the total calories but rather in the balance of nutrition.

For example: If you were reading a label and notice very low protein and fats with high carbs, you will know that after consuming a serving that you will likely be hungry again soon. If you were to choose a similar product with higher protein and fats, with moderate carbs and higher fiber, you’ll know that this may help with keeping you fuller for longer.

Reading a nutrition label should come down to understanding the balance of nutrients, the size of each portion, total servings, and calories.

Let’s break down some important things to consider when reading a nutrition label:

Serving size

Serving size, as you can see below in the picture as 1, refers to the amount of that product that equals that amount of calories, macros, and micros. When looking at the label, this means that 228g of this macaroni & cheese is 250 calories, 12g fat, 31g carbs, and 5g protein.

Servings per container

Servings per container means how many servings are in that entire package (or food source). If you look at the nutrition label below, there are 2 servings per container. This means that 1 serving is 250 calories with the listed macros and micros, while 2 will be double this.

*Understanding this is important as some products may seem low in calories with awesome macros, but as soon as you read it the serving size may actually be very low compared to all that it has. Lenny and Larry cookies are a great example of this (it’s just one cookie, but the serving size is actually just for half of it).

 

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*Unknown source for image

 

Discrepancies

Nutrition labels can be up to 20% off. This can mean that instead of something being 100 calories, it can actually be 120 calories. Although this may seem small, over time these do add up. If everything you’ve consumed in a day came from a package- it is likely that although your calories may seem on point that day, they actually aren’t. You can test whether a label is correct by multiplying the macros to add up to the total calories.

Protein x 4
Carbs x 4
Fats x 9

(add the total of each one)
= total calories for the serving

If you count calories or macros, please understand that your calories will never be exact. BUT, getting close to your goal is ideal because of this reason and of course, your method of tracking (estimating rather than weighing).

All in all

Reading a nutrition label on the products you buy helps you understand nutrition and your food choices a little bit better. Does it have to be with every product you buy? Not at all. But understanding food is a lifestyle, not something you embark on only when you have a physique goal.

 

-Tiffany Moule

Health & Mindset Coach

http://www.tiffanymoule.com