Food Labels Essay

Submitted By gradytamika
Words: 764
Pages: 4

Understanding Food Labels
July 6, 2012

Planning a healthy diet begins by developing an understanding of food labels. Food labels give an indication to serving size, calories, and nutrition information. They will also include daily value information and a quick guide to daily percentage value. Making better food choices becomes easier when practicing a method known as the 5/20 rule. The 5/20 states that 5% or less of any nutrient is a low amount and 20% or more of any nutrient is a high amount. Nutrients such as fat, cholesterol, sodium, and carbohydrates are things that you want to limit. To get less out of these areas, you want to target your percentages toward 5% or less. Nutrients such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium, and Iron are areas that you want to work toward increasing. To gain more in these areas, you would want to look for those percentage values at 20% or above. It is also important to take caution when seeing words such as “partially hydrogenated” and “transfat”. Food labels target a daily intake of 2000 calories per day. Creating better eating habits is a practice better developed when we learn the skill of reading food labels. The typical food label displays six important label facts. The first section of a food label displays serving size per cup and serving size per container. It is important to pay close attention to this information. Portion size contributes to the daily calorie intake and nutrition value. Calorie information is found in the next section of the label. Calories measure the amount of energy your body will benefit from a source of food. This section displays total calories and fat calories. There are three key pieces of information to remember when it comes to calories: 40 calories is considered low, 100 calories is considered moderate, and 400 calories is considered high. The third section of the section label displays the nutrition information on fat, cholesterol, and sodium. It is suggested that these nutrients be limited. Too much of each one can contribute to things such as heart disease, diabetes, or cancer. Nutrient information such as Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium, and Iron are displayed in the next section. It is important to include the right amount of these sources in daily food intake. Eating the right portion of these nutrients can increase your chances of avoiding chronic health issues. Section five displays a footnote. This portion of a food label is based on a 2000 calorie diet. This is a required disclosure on all food products. Packages that are small in size may not include full disclosure. The final section of a food label displays the daily percent value (%DV) and a quick guide (reference) to the %DV. The recommendations are limited to those following a 2000 calorie diet. It helps to determine if a food source